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Lyme diseases treatment

Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease

by Dr. Alvarez , Physician
June 1, 2022
Lyme diseases treatment

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) receive approximately 30,000 official reports of Lyme disease annually from state health departments and the District of Columbia. However, this number is minuscule compared to what experts believe is the true number of cases per year.

The CDC reports that recent estimates suggest that approximately 476,000 individuals develop Lyme disease each year in the U.S. It’s imperative that people recognize the early signs and symptoms to avoid long-term effects, which can be debilitating.

What Causes Lyme Disease?


Lyme disease is a relatively modern affliction. It was only first identified in the U.S. in 1975, in the city of Lyme, Connecticut. During the last four decades, scientists have performed numerous studies to understand the disease better, how it’s transmitted, and its biological impact on the human body.

Lyme is spread mostly by deer ticks primarily found in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Northwest. Deer ticks are also known as black-legged ticks, Ixodes scapularis, or Ixodes pacificus. Some are as tiny as a poppy seed, these ticks are very small, making them troublesome to see.

Ticks carry the Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, which is a spirochete—a highly invasive bacterium because of its shape and motility mechanisms. Bacteria quickly move through the skin and break into and out of blood vessels. It can even cross the blood-brain barrier.

Unfortunately, in the case of Lyme disease, the bacteria are difficult to kill—especially if left untreated in the very early stages of the infection.

Lyme Disease in Three Stages


There are three main stages of Lyme disease, each with their own signs and symptoms.

Early education about the initial infection instructed people to look for a rash known as erythema migrans (EM). The rash expands over time, post-tick bite and can reach 12 inches or more across. It may feel warm to the touch, but rarely painful or itchy. Sometimes, the rash clears in the middle and resembles a bullseye. However, not everyone who is infected exhibits this bullseye indication. Still, acute signs like EM are key in identifying Lyme, because it’s estimated that only about 17% of people recall being bitten by a tick.

Whether or not an individual develops the rash, timing is crucial in this acute stage of infection. Suppose a person can identify a tick bite, clean the site right away with antibacterial soap and water, and notify their primary care provider. In that case, they may be able to cure the infection in 10-12 days.

Lyme progresses to the subacute stage when an infection goes unnoticed and thus untreated. Individuals may experience headaches, fever, and chills, similar to a viral infection, even though Lyme is bacteria-based.

As time goes on, symptoms worsen into joint pain and other bodily aches, similar to arthritis. By late-stage Lyme, people are really in the “danger zone.”

One effect people may not know about is that Lyme can cause cardiac dysrhythmias, a condition in which the heart is not beating correctly. Such cardiac dysrhythmia can eventually cause the heart to fail. Some Lyme patients may need a pacemaker to regulate the heart’s rhythm.

Because the Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi crosses the blood-brain barrier, neurological symptoms may result, such as:

  • Confusion
  • Brain fog
  • Facial paralysis or drooping
  • Severe head pain
  • Visual disturbances
  • Neck stiffness
  • Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
  • Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • Nerve pain
  • Numbness, tingling, or shooting pain in the hands or feet

Some individuals even report having an “out of body” experience, feeling they are in one place when they’re not—similar to a hallucination.


Many Lyme disease symptoms mimic those of syphilis because the spirochete causing syphilis (Treponema pallidum) shares the same properties as the Lyme disease bacterium. Scientists have been able to draw from the lengthy history of syphilis symptomatology, which has documentation going back to the 15th century.

Testing for Lyme Disease

Chronic Lyme is difficult to identify and adequately treat because no definitive diagnostic test exists. Most Lyme disease tests are designed to detect antibodies made by the body in response to infection. But, antibodies can take several weeks to develop, so patients may test negative if infected only recently.

Specific immunological markers may reveal concern via blood labs, but these markers also might indicate other types of infections—including some tick borne diseases, viral, bacterial, or autoimmune diseases— which can result in false positive test results.

The most effective way to uncover Lyme is through a solid, thorough history, clinical examination, and a Lyme questionnaire. Suppose a person ranks high on the questionnaire, alongside an accompanying quality of life questionnaire. In that case, they’re likely living with the disease.


Treating Lyme Disease

Traditional treatment for Lyme disease includes antibiotics, antiviral, and antifungal protocols. The problem is that spirochetes are extremely intelligent. Many bacteria contain plasmids, which are small, circular DNA molecules that can make bacteria resistant to antibiotic treatment. With Lyme, this process becomes heightened. Research has shown that the Lyme disease Borrelia burgdorferi species presents the most complex plasmid structure among known bacteria.

Spirochetes are so smart and fast that they communicate with other spirochetes, telling them to change various factors such as pH or temperature or generate a new plasmid that will ultimately resist the treatment.

When one antibiotic treatment doesn’t work, physicians may try another and another—up to 20-30 different types. But, this perpetuates the resistance and induces long-lasting molecular changes to the body’s microbiome. The immediate physiological effects plague patients daily, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. Long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease has been associated with serious, sometimes deadly complications.

Despite all these efforts, the spirochetes survive. Autopsy evidence reveals that spirochetes keep growing persistently, even after 15 years of antibiotic treatment. Given all the evidence, prescriptions may aid in alleviating some of the accompanying symptoms of Lyme (pain, depression/anxiety, poor sleep), but they simply do not work effectively to eliminate the infection itself.

If Traditional Treatments Don’t Work, What Can Be Done?

Multiple research studies have shown the positive benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in treating Lyme disease and its symptoms. The science behind this approach involves how spirochetes respond when exposed to oxygen: they die.

Individuals living with chronic Lyme disease who have undergone HBOT treatments and the Aviv Medical Program protocols report relief from symptoms like digestive distress, brain fogginess, joint pain, and overwhelming fatigue. Many have been able to return to the active lifestyle they have been missing for ten-plus years. Learn more about how the Aviv Medical Program can help!

HBOT and the accompanying protocols of the Aviv Medical Program will be increasingly valuable in the coming years, as Lyme is projected to become a severe epidemic in the next decade—particularly in the hot-spot areas.

If you or a loved one suspects chronic Lyme disease is at the root of symptoms, contact us to learn more about the Aviv Medical Program and its role in providing relief.

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