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How Functional Medicine Can Improve Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms

A warning sign for hikers to “beware of ticks” in a forest with people walking

How Functional Medicine Can Improve Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms

How Functional Medicine Can Improve Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms

Chronic Lyme disease is an extremely complex and widely misunderstood condition that many conventional doctors struggle to treat effectively. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi that is transmitted by infected tick bites and impacts several different bodily systems. Experts estimate that approximately 87,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed in Massachusetts each year. If caught early, Lyme disease can often be treated within a few weeks and a round of antibiotics. Unfortunately, Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed and can cause vastly different symptoms in each patient. In some cases the symptoms persist for months or years after the initial infection, leading to a condition known as chronic Lyme disease.

 

Today we will talk about what chronic Lyme disease is, how it can affect you, and how functional medicine can improve chronic lyme disease symptoms.

 

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is the most common tick borne illness in the United States, and affects approximately 476,000 Americans each year. You are at a higher risk of contracting Lyme disease if you spend time in heavily wooded or grassy areas where ticks are known to thrive. 

 

One of the reasons Lyme disease is so difficult to diagnose and treat is that it often mimics other diseases or conditions, or causes vague symptoms that are difficult to pinpoint. Some common nondescript symptoms that could be caused by Lyme disease include:

 

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Constipation
  • Muscle aches
  • Night sweats
  • Chills
  • Neck pain
  • Trouble sleeping

 

One of the first telltale signs of Lyme disease is a rash that is commonly referred to as a “bullseye rash”. It is a lesion that appears on the skin shortly after being bitten by an infected tick, and often resembles the shape of a bullseye (as its name suggests!) Unfortunately, only a small minority of patients get a bullseye rash to alert them to the fact that they’ve been bitten by an infected tick. This early warning sign usually gives patients the opportunity to get treatment right away to prevent their symptoms from worsening.

 

For many years, the conventional medicine community has been under the impression that Lyme disease is an acute condition that can be treated and eliminated using a single round of antibiotics. Unfortunately, many physicians came to the conclusion that this is not always the case, and that for some patients the condition becomes chronic.

 

How Does Lyme Disease Become Chronic?

Although some Lyme disease cases are successfully treated in the early stages using antibiotics, not all patients are so lucky. For some, the bacteria behind Lyme disease can trigger an inflammatory response in virtually any bodily system including the heart, brain, and central nervous system. The symptoms a patient experiences depends on which bodily system is being affected by the bacteria. For example, neuroinflammatory symptoms may include brain fog, anxiety, and depression. A patient with these symptoms may seek out treatment from a mental health expert, not realizing that Borrelia burgdorferi is at the root of their cognitive symptoms.

 

Borrelia may also trigger an autoimmune response in some patients and mimic the effects of other autoimmune diseases. This is why Lyme disease, also known as “the great imitator”, has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

 

How Functional Medicine Can Improve Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms

Many patients come to us after months (sometimes even years!) of frustration after being brushed aside by the conventional medicine community. Lyme disease has created much controversy over the years, with many conventional doctors believing that Lyme disease is a rare and easily treatable condition. However, most Lyme disease patients will argue that their symptoms persist long after the initial infection and impact their quality of life. In many cases, patients are told that their symptoms are related to stress, “all in their head”, or are dismissed completely.

 

Unfortunately, allopathic medicine falls short when it comes to diagnosing and treating complex, chronic conditions. On the other hand, functional medicine focuses on identifying and treating the root causes of a patient’s symptoms, and views the body as one whole, interconnected symptom rather than isolated body parts.

 

At Five Journeys, we understand the complexities and variables that come along with treating your chronic Lyme disease symptoms. We believe that it is possible to treat and recover from chronic lyme disease and get back to living life on your own terms. Our approach is customized based on your unique needs and symptoms, and may include some of the following therapies to improve your overall health:

 

  • Gut health
  • Balancing hormones
  • Detoxification
  • Nutrition therapy
  • Stress management
  • Antimicrobial treatments
  • Mold detoxification
  • Cognitive training

 

Our team at Five Journeys begins with comprehensive testing to get to the root of your symptoms, followed by a detailed and personalized treatment plan to manage your unique symptoms. If you’re ready to take back control of your health and finally get your chronic Lyme disease symptoms under control, book a discovery call today!

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