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Whether you have Lyme Disease or not, most know that treating the affliction can be far more complex than simply administering 21 days of antibiotics. But resistance to the medical intervention of the tick-born illness doesn’t always represent the most elusive aspect of overcoming this problematic and chronic disease, according to Dr. Daniel Cameron.
The Mt. Kisco based Internist and President of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), is referring to a procedure called Two-Tiered Testing. “Patients don’t necessarily test positive for Lyme,” he said. “Yet they are still sick.”
Lyme or not?
So if the doctor you’ve chosen doesn’t actually attribute Lyme symptoms such as severe fatigue, poor concentration, joint pain and headaches to Lyme disease, insurance does not cover the patients very real symptoms. Along similar lines, a positive diagnosis has doctors of this mindset focusing on the Lyme rash. Once the outbreak fades away, the physician usually doesn’t seek to treat for long term chronic Lyme.
For the patient, obtaining treatment then involves a search for the right second opinion. “It can be difficult,” said Cameron. “But narrowing the leg work can be greatly facilitated by making sure the next doctor is an expert on the affliction.
As such, the profession is genuinely divided on what constitutes a positive diagnoses and the long term implications. Nonetheless, Cameron doesn’t see the field proceeding along the normal lines of coming to a resolution. “For some reason with Lyme disease, doctors haven’t come together to work out a consensus on how to approach people with chronic Lyme,” he said.
Insurance Not Amounting to Much
That leaves the obvious question of what role insurance companies play. Cameron defers that speculation to others. “Many suspect that the insurance companies are reluctant to throw their support behind a long term treatment,” Cameron conveyed.
No matter, the time lost can make a difference. “If intervention is delayed, Lyme becomes more difficult to treat—especially within the standard 10 to 21-day regimen,” he said.
Otherwise, those who do manage to notice the rash at the outset – which occurs approximately half the time—medication has 80 percent of patients doing well, according to Cameron.
Science and Conspiracy
No such luck upon the earliest instances of Lyme, though. Researchers from the Yale School of Public Health report that the disease appeared almost 60,000 years in the forests of North America.
But the Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi found in deer and mice ticks arrived in a modern sense with human changes to the continent. “It is tied to the ecological transformation of much of North America. Specifically, forest fragmentation and the population explosion of deer in the last century have created optimal conditions for the spread of ticks and triggered this ongoing epidemic,” wrote Elisabeth Reitman in publichealth.yale.edu/
The first noticeable impact first emerged in Lyme, Connecticut in 1975 and left many with no answers. The diagnosis finally arrived in 1981 when a scientist named Willy Burgdorfer identified the cause.
Although, there is an offshoot of the science that does have the attention of anyone who suffers. Plum Island was originally operated by the US Army and some believe that there was an accidental release of infected ticks at Plum Island Animal Disease Center, which is eight miles from Lyme. The conspiracy thus sights the sudden emergence of the disease to the Army oversight.
Hope Under Our Skin
Either way, Cameron believes that there is hope for those not responding to the current treatments. He points to a pair of documentaries called Under our Skin, which he is one of the doctors interviewed. “By the second movie, three of the patients most affected were found to be doing quite well with treatment,” Cameron revealed.
Talk that may seem cheap to those still suffering, but therein lies the only way forward for Cameron. “Through ILADS, I want to continue to highlight the problems that my clients face and work toward a dialogue that encourages more to better understand the treatment of Lyme disease—even if it becomes chronic,” Cameron concluded.
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