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Paul V. Beals, MD, CCN
Treating Lyme Disease: Why Is There So Much Controversy?

Treating Lyme Disease: Why Is There So Much Controversy?

As inhabitants of an endemic area for tick-borne diseases, we need to be aware of the controversy that exists within the medical community where Lyme disease is concerned. The controversy centers on the fact that there are two distinctly different sets of guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.

One set of guidelines is written by the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) – a quasi-governmental medical society responsible for writing most of the medical guidelines followed by doctors and hospitals in this country. The other set of guidelines is written by the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) – an international medical society made up of doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners, scientists, researchers and others who are dedicated to learning about tick-borne diseases and to treating their patients for these illnesses.

IDSA Guidelines:

1. Lyme disease is easy to cure with 2-4 weeks of antibiotics

2. Laboratory tests are reliable

3. Western Blot Positive takes 3+ bands on IgM or 5+ bands on IgG

4. Chronic Lyme disease does not exist. When continued symptoms exist, it’s due to a new disease called “Post Lyme Syndrome”

5. Followed by the majority of family doctors, pediatricians, rheumatologists, infectious disease doctors and other specialists.

ILADS Guidelines:

1. Lyme disease is caused by a very stealth bacteria that can be hard to treat, taking months or even years of treatment for patients to become symptom-free.

2. Laboratory tests are unreliable.

3. One positive Lyme-specific band on a Western Blot test can be an indication of the presence of Lyme disease.

4. Chronic Lyme disease is real and has been proven in many clinical trials. It can be the result of delays in early diagnosis.

5. Recognize that there are several other tick-borne diseases causing illness.

6. Followed by doctors who have a better understanding of tick-borne diseases.

To find a doctor who practices under the guidelines of the ILADS, go to lymediseaseassociation.org, click on “Doctor Referral”.

Unfortunately, when a person has had undiagnosed Lyme disease for a long time, many experts say that the tests also become unreliable because the body can stop producing antibodies – once again causing false negative test results. When Lyme disease goes untreated, it can affect all systems of the body, resulting in misdiagnosis as: fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, ALS, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s/dementia, multiple sclerosis, “growing pains” in kids, depression and/or anxiety, autism, behavioral problems, autoimmune problems, and neurological issues.

When no other answers can be found, patients – young and old – are told: “It’s all in your head.” So educate yourself.

Treating chronic Lyme disease successfully doesn’t happen overnight. It might take several months of different antibiotics along with protective probiotics to get the individual back to “normal.”

MD (301) 805-6805 | VA (703) 288-3130