Category Archives: Co-infections

Babesiosis: Multiple Strains Complicate Diagnosis

When I finally arrived at the door of a Lyme Literate Doctor (LLMD), I was surprised to learn that in addition to Lyme, I have an infection of the red blood cells called Babesiosis, caused by a tiny parasite.

Symptoms can include fatigue, drenching sweats, muscle aches,  and nausea; the infection often begins with a high fever. It can also attack the spleen.  I got mine from a tick bite. People also become infected through blood transfusions. 

The thing is, if you are treated for Lyme but you also have this co-infection going undetected and untreated, your health won’t improve, as seen in a recent television program about a young girl in Maryland who wasn’t improving when treated for Lyme alone. 

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Video: Babesiosis, From a Tick to Your Blood Cells

This video on YouTube gets up close and personal, a fascinating view of how ticks transmit the coinfection babesiosis.

Check out the tiny size of young ticks, or nymphs. Wow. No wonder infected people often never see them.

Then learn what happens once the parasite gets inside the human body. Symptoms can include drenching sweats, fatigue, and muscle aches. Click here to read a story from the New York Times about the potential impact of babesia on the spleen.

Noted on YouTube:

Special thanks to Rick Smith at The University of Rhode Island for narration; Rick’s brother was recently diagnosed with Lyme disease. To learn more about Tick Bite prevention, please visit http://www.TickEncounter.org

Video: Controversy Over Lyme in Australia

It’s not just places in the U.S. where people are told, “No lyme here.”

In this video posted on YouTube from Australia’s “Today Tonight” (aired 13 February 2012), a government health official says people with lyme in Australia most likely got infected elsewhere.

Patients interviewed say otherwise.

Note: For those not familiar with lyme at its worst, I must warn you that the interviews are graphic examples of the suffering inflicted by persistent lyme disease.

See another “Today Tonight” lyme report about a 3-year-old infected with lyme here.

And here’s research on coinfections in Australia. 

For more information on lyme down under, visit the Lyme Disease Association of Australia. 

 

Guest Post: Top Ten Tips to Prevent Chronic Lyme Disease

logoteEveryone, everywhere should read these tips from experts at the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), reproduced here from the ILADS website with permission.  

Chronic Lyme disease patients may face a long hard fight to wellness. People with chronic Lyme can have many debilitating symptoms, including severe fatigue, anxiety, headaches, and joint pain. Without proper treatment, chronic Lyme patients have a poorer quality of life than patients with diabetes or a heart condition.

The fact is Lyme is a complex disease that can be highly difficult to diagnose. Reliable diagnostic tests are not yet available which leaves many—patients and physicians alike—relying on the so called “telltale signs” of Lyme disease: discovery of a tick on the skin, a bull’s eye rash, and possibly joint pain. However, ILADS research indicates that only 50%-60% of patients recall a tick bite; the rash is reported in only 35% to 60% of patients; and joint swelling typically occurs in only 20% to 30% of patients. Given the prevalent use of over the counter anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, joint inflammation is often masked.

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Video: Musician Daryl Hall Tells His Lyme Disease Story

Seems like years since I’ve heard a Hall and Oates song, but this interview on YouTube sure caught my eye. I’m so glad famous people like Daryl are sharing their personal lyme stories.

Notice how his symptoms gradually built up until the day he crashed and couldn’t ignore them any more. If more people knew about how often lyme—”the great imitator”— is mistaken for other things, they could get on the path to good health sooner.

Also take note: he’s recovering – you will, too.

Killing Good Bacteria with the Bad

Do the probiotics I take replace the good bacteria wiped out by antibiotics?

Do the probiotics I take replace the good bacteria wiped out by antibiotics?

I’m pretty tired of that perky Jamie Lee Curtis and her “Activia” ads on television. Yeah, I’ll admit it, maybe I’m just jealous that she looks so damned good at her age, while I feel my own looks sliding into oblivion as the years slide by.

But I’ll admit she delivers an important message in those yogurt ads—good bacteria promote digestive health. And I’ve learned they do much more.

A riveting article by Michael Specter titled “Germs are Us” in the October 12 (2012) New Yorker magazine addresses this question: “Bacteria make us sick. Do they also keep us alive?”

Specter reports that “…the destruction of bacteria may contribute to Crohn’s disease, obesity, asthma, and many other chronic illnesses.”

As if I didn’t have enough to worry about with threatening bacteria like Borrelia burgdorferi and Babesia microti roving my body and making me sick, I’m quite concerned that antibiotic treatment is killing too many good guys among the tens of thousands of bacteria species in my body. Continue reading

Video: Did You Know Ticks Can Transmit Lots of Infections—Like Babesiosis?

I’m very lucky to have wonderful neighbors. One of them, Marilyn, called me the other day to say she’d seen this segment of “Monsters Inside Me” on Discovery’s Animal Planet. It explores the case of a Lyme patient who was not recovering, and her doctor’s discovery that she had babesia caused by the parasite Babesia microti. Marilyn knows I’m being treated for Lyme and wanted to make sure I knew about this co-infection. She got the message: Lyme patients with babesia need treatment for that along with Lyme in order to recover. I’m also lucky to have a Lyme literate doctor who checked me for co-infections at the start because I had soaking night sweats, a key symptom; my treatment is going well. Babesia can also cause the spleen to rupture; read one patient’s story here. The good news is, babesia can be treated. But first it has to be diagnosed. Please, share this video to help get the word out. And if you want lots more information on babesia symptoms and treatment, see this video by Dr. Robert Horowitz of the Hudson Valley Healing Arts Center in New York.