September 6, 2010
Chronic Lyme Disease: Does It Even Exist?
(Ivanhoe Newswire) "“ Lyme disease is no laughing matter. The disease affects the joints, heart, and even the nervous system, and it assumed that when it is deemed "chronic" that these symptoms worsen, but some scientists believe that chronic Lyme disease may not even exist and that doctors treating the disease may be causing more harm than good.
Lyme disease is a multi-system infection cause by Borrelia Burgdorferi, a bacterium, and treatment usually consists of 10-28 days of antibiotics. If doctors are treating patients with chronic Lyme disease then they are receiving prolonged and intense usage of oral and intravenous antibiotics, which can cause blood clots and life threatening infections. "Lyme literate" groups, such as the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, define chronic Lyme disease as a debilitating illness caused by a persistent infection of Borrelia Burgdorferi, and the symptoms are fatigue, difficulty concentrating, headaches, and irritability.
Dr. Michael Johnson at the Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven, CT, and Dr. Henry Feder, of the University of Connecticut Health Center, researched how frequently doctors in Connecticut diagnose and treat chronic Lyme disease. They found that of the 258 primary care physicians that responded to the survey, about half thought that chronic Lyme disease isn't a legitimate illness, 48 percent were undecided, and about 2.1 percent said they did diagnose and treat chronic Lyme disease. The 2.1 percent of doctors who treated chronic Lyme disease said they only treated the disease for about 20 weeks. Thus, they do not fit into the "Lyme literate" category because they weren't treated for months to years.
The research suggests that for the most part chronic Lyme disease isn't treated for months to years, and that maybe there are legitimacy issues with the "Lyme literate" organizations. However, chronic Lyme disease is drawing attention, and now some insurance companies are willing to cover the costs for treatment of chronic Lyme disease.
SOURCE: Journal of Pediatrics, published online September 1, 2010