Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Lyme Disease

If a tick has ever bitten you then you are at an increased risk of developing an inflammatory infection known as Lyme disease. Lyme disease is caused by a certain type of bacteria known as borrelia, which infects animals such as birds, rodents and deer. Ticks pick up the bacteria by biting an infected animal before biting and transferring that bacteria to humans, resulting in Lyme disease.

The problem with Lyme disease is that many individuals who are affected are not even aware they have it – at least not initially – as it is easy to overlook some if its’ most common symptoms. For example, forgetfulness is often attributed to aging; things like not remembering where you put the keys, forgetting a conversation that you had with someone, or forgetting appointments. Other symptoms such as lack of fatigue and lack of concentration are also often attributed to being a normal part of life – especially after a gruelling day at work or in school. However, all of these symptoms mentioned can also be signs of Lyme disease.

Lyme disease rash
One misconception about Lyme disease is that you have to look ill in order to be ill, which is not the case. Outwardly, someone with Lyme disease may appear to be fine. However, in reality they may feel quite unwell and experience low levels of energy, in addition to experiencing a long list of other symptoms – over 100 – including rash, hair loss, headache, facial paralysis, stiff neck, jaw pain, sore throat and other flu-like symptoms, dental problems, blurred or double vision, sensitivity to light, eye pain, plugged or painful ears, ringing/ buzzing in one or both ears, decreased hearing, upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation, fibromyalgia, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, poor balance, a burning or stabbing sensation in parts of the body, tremors, mood swings, depression, insomnia, memory loss, confusion, slurred speech, decreased libido, pelvic pain, breast pain, weight loss or weight gain, phantom smells, swollen glands and/or lymph nodes, allergies, and chronic infections. These are just some of the many symptoms of Lyme disease, and not everyone will experience the same or all of these symptoms.

When caught early, Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics. However, if left untreated you are at risk of developing complications, which can sometimes be permanent. Living with Lyme disease can be challenging, but there are some important steps that Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends patients with Lyme disease follow, including getting plenty of rest, avoiding things like smoking, alcohol and caffeine, getting exercise (low-impact – you do not need to over-exert yourself), and eating a diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in fibre and protein.

If you would like information on what type of treatments may be best suited for you, Dr. Ali Ghahary is always available to see patients on a walk-in basis at Brentwood Medical Clinic in Burnaby. To find out Dr. Ali Ghahary’s walk-in hours for specific days, click here.

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