Northern Virginia-Lyme-Disease-Diagnosis and Treatment Program
According to the CDC, Lyme Disease is the fastest growing reported vector borne illness in the US to date. The number of reported cases has increased more than twenty five fold since 1982 with the CDC estimating over 300,000 new cases per year. The annual incidence of Lyme is 1.5 times greater than the number of new breast cancer patients and more than 6 times higher than the number of HIV/AIDS cases, yet the funding for Lyme research is only 1.5 to 2% of what is spent for HIV or breast cancer research.
According to ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society), Lyme disease is transmitted via the bite of a tick and is present across the United States and throughout the world. “A patient’s county of residence does not accurately reflect his or her Lyme disease risk because people travel, pets travel, and ticks travel. This creates a dynamic situation with many opportunities for exposure to Lyme disease for each individual.”
For a variety of reasons, Lyme is notoriously difficult to diagnose for using the standard Elisa screening test as this test (Western Blot) has a 40-60% false negative reporting. For that reason, we use more advanced testing that combines robust DNA analysis along with the traditional antibody testing. As a result of relying on the traditional testing alone, many people are not properly diagnosed until much later in their illness. The disease then becomes chronic, systemic, and significantly more difficult to treat.
According to the CDC, Lyme Disease is a clinical diagnosis and should NOT be based on testing alone. We know that we must take into account the history of exposure, symptomology, and results of newer, more innovative testing. The practitioner must act as a detective. The average patient sees a minimum of 5 doctors over a period of at least two years before being properly diagnosed.
Lyme Disease is caused by Borellia burgdorferi, a spiral-shaped bacteria (spirochete) which produces a wide array of symptoms mimicking many other diseases due to the infection of multiple organs. There are 5 known species of Borrelia burgdorferi with over 100 strains in the US and 300 strains throughout the world. Scientists believe that this diversity contributes to the antigenic variation of the organism, its ability to evade the immune system and antibiotic therapy thus leading to a chronic infection.
The majority of patients who have Lyme Disease also have co-infections as the ticks carry multiple organisms, not just Borellia. It is crucial to test for Bartonella, Babesia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Rikettsia and oftentimes, parasites as well. When co-infections are present, Borrelia (Lyme) is most likely present as well. A full workup for Lyme must also includes testing mold/CIRS since there is a significant symptom overlap so we see many patients who have been treated “unsuccessfully” for Lyme that also had mold/CIRS. And since CIRS disrupts the immune system badly, it must be treated if present in Lyme patients. If any of these areas are left untreated or undiagnosed, the patient will likely not have a successful and lasting outcome.
Further, most Lyme patients have significant immune system dysregulation and our experience has shown us that frequently this more so than the “bugs” is the root cause of their illness. Due to the multiplicity of infections, Dr. Richard Horowitz, a world-renowned Lyme specialist, is referring to Lyme disease as MSIDS (multiple systemic infectious disease syndrome.)
Familiarity with the various presentations of Lyme disease is essential to recognizing disseminated disease. Less than 50% of patients with Lyme disease recall a tick bit. Less than 50% of patients with Lyme disease recall a rash. A rash, however, is pathognomonic of Lyme disease and requires no further testing prior to starting treatment with antibiotics for the acute stage of Lyme.
Lyme Disease/Tickborne Illness Symptoms
|Sleep disorders/Not feeling rested in the morning||Joint pain|
|Muscle pain||Numbness or pain in face/teeth, or limbs|
|Sharp, shooting, stabbing pain||Sound and/or light sensitivity|
|Bells palsy||Stomach or GI/Bowel disturbances/pain|
More severe neurological symptoms or disorders are associated with late-stage tick-borne infection
|Progressive dementias||Seizure disorders||Strokes|
|Motor neuron disease, similar to ALS||Guillain-Barre-like syndrome||Depression|
|Anxiety/panic attacks||Multiple sclerosis-like syndrome||Other extrapyramidal disorders|
|Visual disturbances or loss||Irritability||Rage/agression|
|Obsessive/compulsive behavior||Hyperactivity||Problems with attention and focus|
|Antisocial behavior||Hallucinations||Brain fog|
|Confusion/memory problems/processing problems/communication difficulties||Difficulties with problem solving, planning and decision-making||Disorganization and getting lost|
Hi Lynese — Great news – seems a fibroid has disappeared! The ultrasound revealed only one fibroid this time, and it is just a little teensy bit smaller than before. So it hasn’t gotten any bigger at all. And the other fibroid didn’t show up on the ultrasound. smile
Thank goodness I did not get that hysterectomy, huh? and thank goodness I came to you to start the bio-identical hormone therapy. I believe that the progesterone is working. And I’m so glad I’m not on the birth control pills anymore. BTW, haven’t had a period since September, and haven’t had any hot flashes either! Life is good.
Hi – hope you are doing well. Are you ready for Thanksgiving? I’m getting there. I wanted to let you know I hit the 30 lb loss today!!! Yeah! So excited! Clothes that didn’t fit are fitting. Clothes I used to wear are too big. Feeling great! A little nervous about tomorrow’s feeding frenzy- but hoping to not overindulge too bad.
My update. I feel pretty good!!! My bleeding is under control and I am now regular for the most part. Sometimes I will have a strange menstral bleed (long and slow), but I will take it compared to my old “normal”. I still love the progesterone and testosterone I am on. They leave me with no side effects.
I was very happy at my recent (Feb 6th) annual doc appt (physical). After the standard blood draw work up, my numbers were:
Vitamin D= 66.9 (down a bit from your work up which was 77, but still good)
Cholesterol=123 (down from 150 in Sept 2011)
Triglycerides=91 (down from 129 in Sept 2011)
So… I am the new spokesperson for HCG! I love that stuff!! smile The second round for me was amazing. I was very disciplined and determined and after about the 3rd day, it become very easy for me. I was able to drop 14lbs in an 18 day cycle!!!! AND….I am keeping that off with very little effort! OMG I couldn’t be happier! I am in the body that I am comfortable in once again! That feels so good. I am continuing to eat clean and exercise, it is a great life change!
June4, 2009. “Good morning! I have to tell you that I weigh 157… down from 191!!! OMG…thank you so much! I feel incredible!”
You are so great! I truly appreciate all you are doing for me. Phyllis and I are so fortunate to have found you.
“So far I have lost 30#’s in 6 weeks and have the energy of a 40 year old. Am so thankful to be able to handle unpacking and shelving 6000 books. I am up and down stepladders and extension ladders with books in tow. The awful arthritis pain is there but the energy isn’t depleted from the pain like before and I keep going like this for hours.”
Hi Lynese – In an old file I found a print out from an online longevity calculator I had used in 2007 (www.eons.com). I thought I was doing well because it said I would likely live to 86! But I just re-took the survey. Basically by cutting out the coffee, carbs and sugar, increasing my exercise and losing weight, I’ve apparently added 13 years to my life!! The calculator now says I could live to be 99!! With a little more exercise and a little less work, I could live to 106!! Thanks for all the added years Lynese!!!
All the best.
P.S. – I saw Diane over the weekend – she’s looking great, and is so happy with her weight loss.
Dare I say it out loud? It sure is looking as though Semorelin has given me my life back. I was so worried about skiing – afraid I’d ski one day and be in bed the rest of the week. But I was just fine. This past Saturday I prepared, served, and cleaned up (with help) dinner for 14. Sunday I was just fine.
Words cannot describe how happy I am with your anti-aging program. I have not felt this good in YEARS. Since getting pregnant in 1995 I have been overweight. Between 1992-1995 I was being treated for infertility and had to take all sorts of hormones that made me bloated and tired.
Now, at the age of 46 I have more energy and I look better than I have in YEARS. I actually THRIVE on exercise and do it religiously because I know it is the key to keeping the weight off and enjoying the foods that I love.
As a successful businesswoman, you often feel that you can’t have everything and I put my weight and health on hold to grow my business. You have given me the gift of being able to run a business AND look good. I am getting so much attention for my weight loss and it has helped my confidence and self esteem greatly.Since I do a lot of speaking engagements, I know that image is more important than what you say or how you say it. By looking better and appearing fit and healthy, I am a more powerful public speaker!
I can’t say enough about this gift you have given me and I hope you know how much I appreciate you.
On top of all of this, you are truly a beautiful person inside and out who provides a level of caring I have never seen from a doctor, weight loss clinic or other health professional.
HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hi Lynese – Just had to share this with you. I have appeared in an online newsletter (Legal Bisnow) twice – the first time a year ago and the second time today. Look at the difference in my photos!
It’s an absolute miracle! In the older photo even my eyelids look fat! I can’t get over how much I now look like my old self – of 20 years ago! I certainly don’t look like I’m closing in on 59, do I??
The best thing anyone has said to me so far was a comment made by a neighbor who saw me today for the first time in over a year. At first he didn’t recognize me. Then he just stared intently into my face for a few minutes and said “How is your mother?” (I was confused because he doesn’t know my mother). Then he said “I had to ask that because you look like your own daughter!” Wow!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
“With that said, I have been getting incredible compliments:
“You look like a movie star”
“What have you been doing”
“You look amazing”
“You look ten years younger”
I feel incredible”
Anyway – just had to tell you that my size 12 pants have been falling off of me! I went to Target this weekend to get some cheap crop pants and shorts for the summer – still not wanting to invest much in clothes that are not my “target” size. (I’ve blown past the size 14 shorts I couldn’t fit into for years). And wouldn’t you know – the 12s were too big – I fit best in the size 10!!
I’M A 10!!! I’m amazed!!
I broke the 170 barrier too – I’m now 168. Just 13 pounds to go to my goal weight. I can’t believe it. The meds have been working like a charm. I think the extra thyroid has really boosted me past a plateau. I’m cleaning out my closet like a madwoman; I can’t believe how much clothing I have for donations.
I’m still getting double takes and amazed looks from people who haven’t seen me for awhile. And after remarking how great I look, a girlfriend recently peered suspiciously at me and said – “And have you had something done to your face too? You look younger!” And I do!
Take our quick assessment. If you have more than a few of the symptoms listed above, you probably need to explore the possibility that a tickborne illness is at the root of your issues
Lyme Diagnosis and Treatment
At Proactive Wellness, our Lyme Disease Treatment Program uses an integrative approach that combines the knowledge-base of ILADS-trained functional medicine practitioners with a complete “toolbox” that allows us to tailor programs to each patient’s unique presentation. Our program is highly individualized as each patient presents with a unique set of symptoms and varied infections. Our program offers a journey to recovery such that a patient is significantly relieved of symptoms, and can regain their sense of well-being.
Say “NO” to long-term antibiotics for chronic Lyme!
While most Lyme treatment focuses on killing the “bugs” typically through the use of IV antibiotics, we have learned that killing bugs alone is not sufficient or even necessary in some cases to restore health due to the vast immune dysregulation that the bugs have caused. We say that killing bugs is not always necessary because even in healthy asymptomatic subjects, the same bugs are present in their bodies as well. But a patient with a healthy immune system can keep the “bugs” balanced in the body’s ecosystem and not reflect illness. Accordingly, much of our treatment focuses on detoxification, correcting mitochondrial function, correcting the immune dysregulation, and strengthening and supporting the patient to achieve a healthy immune system. We never use long-term antibiotics for treatment of chronic Lyme Disease.
Below is a visual overview of our diagnosis and treatment program.
Diagnosing Lyme Disease requires a complex differential diagnosis involving a combination of laboratory testing, detailed history and review of symptom presentation. Diseases with similar etiology have to be confirmed or ruled out. For example, there is much overlap with CIRS/Mold so in most cases, we need to test you for mold toxicity and either confirm it or rule it out. Click here for our mold page for a discussion on diagnosing CIRS/mold illness. For Lyme, the table above shows the primary laboratory tests that we will use to evaluate you for a tickborne illness.
Armed with the conclusion of our differential diagnosis, we are ready to treat you based on our findings. Note that if CIRS is present, we typically need to begin treatment for CIRS first due to the immune dysregulation it causes, plus the binders that we use to begin treatment for CIRS are also helpful for Lyme. If we determined that CIRS was your primary issue, then refer to the CIRS page here for a more detailed understanding of our treatment. If we have determined that tickborne illness is present, then we will follow the treatment outline above. Our years of experience have shown us that this order works best for most cases. Obviously individual cases may require some variation but we do know that we must clear the parasites prior to going after borrelia because borrelia “hides” in the parasites otherwise. The treatment itself consists of any/all of the following elements, again depending on the patient:
- IV Vitamin Therapy
- Detoxification strategies including nutraceuticals as well as physical methods to include infrared sauna and lymphatic drainage
- Precision nutraceuticals
- Transfer factor supplements
- Botanicals and herbs
- Peptides such as Thymosin Alpha 1 and Thymosin Beta4
- Traditional medications
While proceeding through the various phases of treatment, we periodically get updated lab results to verify that the patient is maintaining the benefits of the treatment, and we use these to determine if additional interventions are needed.
Although the protocol is important, our compassionate practitioners make the real difference in the success of our programs. They function like medical detectives that continually seek to find the root causes of the symptoms the patient is experiencing and provide the safest and most effective treatment. This process never stops the entire time you are a patient in any of our treatment programs. Our practitioners have the experience, commitment, leading-edge diagnostics and are constantly learning. Each of them attends an average of 15 days of conferences annually engaged in intensive learning of scientifically-validated medical therapies.
Does our program work? Read here to learn about the success of one of our recent chronic illness patients.
Patient presented with symptoms of mold toxcity and parasites and had history of chronic Lyme Disease with significant cognitive impact. In less than one month, this patient has made remarkable progress. Read on…
A.B. , State College, PA
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If between the hours of 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday through Friday, feel free to call us now on (703) 822-5003.
Helpful Resources for Lyme/Tickborne illness patients:
Long-term antibiotics for treatment of chronic Lyme not only don’t help, but typically create a whole new series of issues. Read here to learn more, especially if you are either already in the middle of long-term antibiotic treatment or thinking about it.