Taking Charge of Your Health

That leads me to the next question,
which is chronic Lyme. What is chronic Lyme? Chronic Lyme, we can call it
when Lyme disease has progressed passed three to six months or more, has failed
treatments and people are sick for years, that is chronic Lyme. Chronic Lyme is
also a bit of a misnomer, there’s usually other infections involved and it’s a
systemic issue, with hormones affected, digestive health detoxification
pathways are all compromised, and it becomes a very ill patient. It goes
from strictly infections problem, to a more systemic issue with chronic Lyme.
For the sake of our viewers, if I’m hearing you correctly,
when you’ve been exposed to Lyme for a long time, your immune system is
compromised and as the immune system is compromised, you’re them susceptible to
more infections, and chronic Lyme is generally a combination of different
infections that the person is dealing with? It can be like that. Having
a long-term infection wears the body out in different ways, changes how
the immune system works, how hormones work, and so it becomes a multi systemic
issue. There can be multiple infections involved. This makes me
think that Lyme disease really affects several organs within our body.
It does. Which are some of the organs that are the most impacted by
Lyme? Is there sort of a sequence, or a pattern the way it follows? There are different patterns, but I don’t think any one person will have the same pattern given time. There
is early, mid, and late stage Lyme, that we see with other kind of spirochete
infections, but how this manifests with people is different. People can have had it for 10 to 20 years and be much less ill than somebody who has had
a recent exposure. There’s also a very interesting
phenomenon where people will have exposure, have antibodies, maybe even have
infection, and have no symptoms. A large percentage of the population in
Lyme endemic areas, will test positive for Lyme, and not have any symptoms at
all, which confuses things further. It does not affect everybody in the same
way. There’s a lot of layers to the management of Lyme disease. Yes. Can you share any of your stories, that you’ve dealt with, in terms of your
patient’s? So people can understand how the treatment of Lyme
disease, can happen with naturopathic medicine? Sure. Couple extremes. Had
a patient who is an interesting story, he knew he had his tick bite ten
years before he had symptoms and then he had a couple chiropractic adjustments,
which opened up the infection, basically. After the adjustments, he had very
strange swelling and it was very intense symptoms. Over the next three to five
months, he progressed till he could not get off the floor, because he had so much
pain and muscular swelling. He was diagnosed with polymyalgia
rheumatica. He was diagnosed with multiple joint
pain, a probable autoimmune disease, and he did not want to pursue that. He
pursued testing for Lyme, and he had Lyme. Through treatment, with
herbs and supplementation and other things, he was eventually able to recover
from this and a year and a half after I met him, he sent me a picture of
him running another half marathon. This was a fellow who couldn’t get off
the floor and then was running a marathon later.
That can happen, and that was without antibiotics. Other people with
chronic cases and their main symptoms were headaches, mild ones, a couple of months of treatment and the headaches were gone, and they’re feeling better.
Then there are other times when people deal with symptoms over months and years,
and it can be more complicated than that. How soon after you started treatment
with this person, did they start feeling the difference? That their body was now able to handle it a little bit better? That’s another complicated question. We’d like
to see treatment response within two to three weeks. See something happening but, when people start treating Lyme, particularly late stage Lyme, they sometimes feel
worse before they get better. When the bacteria is dying off, and things are
changing they may have what’s called a herxheimer reaction, which happens in
other bacterial infections, which is an actual increase in their symptoms due to
effective treatment. This is a hallmark of effective treatment, in some
cases, is that symptoms got worse as a result of treating. That can
happen. We expect something to happen soon, and we hope they will be
feeling better, at the latest, three months to four months. In my
practice that follows a pretty predictable pattern, and if people are not improving
appropriately, then it is time to refer and get other kinds of help. Because not
everybody responds to every kind of treatment. Is compliance an issue when
you’re starting treatment with people dealing with Lyme disease? Not in my
practice. People with chronic Lyme are usually extremely compliant, to
use a medical term. They’re very ill, and often by the time I see
them, they’ve seen many practitioners and it’s not worked out, and so they’re very
motivated to feel better, because they are so sick. Of course there can be
some issues with following certain aspects of the treatment plan, but as a
population people with Lyme are very interested in getting better.
Thank you. That’s wonderful to hear. There are people that work in
farms for example, or people that work in the woods, who are exposed to ticks more so, than people that live in downtown Minneapolis. Would you ever
work with someone prophylactically and boost their immune system with naturopathic medicine, if they are more exposed to Lyme? does that really happen? I tend not to do that. Being healthy and having a healthy
immune system of course it’s helpful. The main prophylaxis is of course, not
getting bitten. It is doing careful tick checks, there is clothing
that’s embedded with insect repellents. Various kinds of insect
repellents, and that is the most important thing to do, when one is going
to be exposed to Lyme. What do you say to someone who has pets in the family and little kids? It’s summertime and they’re going
camping, or the kids are off camping. What is your recommendation to parents
and kids with a full household? How do you have to check for ticks and what are
some of the precautions today? Aside from insecticide, you do a tick check,
and you need to check the body carefully. Look in the hairline, look
in the creases of the body, armpits and groin, and so on. They can hang out there.
Make sure you’re wearing high socks, and maybe even some pants that
are tucked in or things are unable to crawl up in them. These will
help prevent ticks getting on your body. Do a tick check every single
day. What do you recommend to people, once
they see a tick on the body? What should be their next step? To get it off
the body immediately. If they can’t do it, go into the ER or some place
to have it be taken out. Sure, as soon as possible. Any moment is a
possible exposure time. Do you have patients that have called you and said I
have a tick on me can you take care of it?
I have not. They usually take it out. I have patients call in and
say I have the tick, where do I send it? To get it investigated for Lyme, and
there’s a lot of options and that’s a good idea to save the tick. Though again,
it is not a hundred percent that it will test positive, even if it does have Lyme.
But that is an important step to save the tick. When you say save the
tick? Keep it alive or does it not matter? It does not matter. Put it in a small
glass jar, where it cannot escape. Why is the testing of the tick
so important? That can help clarify if that bite is likely to lead to
infection? The decision tree is, if the tick is
positive, then you know to treat. If the tick is negative, you’re not out of the
woods, but it doesn’t necessarily make sense to
treat immediately, unless symptoms are happening. A positive tick, positive
bite, you should be treating and that can be helpful to know.

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