Lyme Disease Awareness Month
The month of May is dedicated to the Lyme Community, brought together by non for profit organizations, physicians, advocates, medical societies and millions of patients to raise awareness for Lyme disease. Using various forms of media and education platforms, the Lyme community aims to educate the public about Lyme disease. Social media platforms such as Instagram have @LymeDiseaseChallenge, a campaign where you take a bite out of lime and proceed to state a fact about Lyme disease. Many joined the movement, documenting themselves on social media platforms to help educate those that are not affected by Lyme.
In this newsletter I would like to further educate the Lyme Community on Lyme Disease. Despite what we do know about Lyme disease: that it is a bacterial infection, transmitted by a vector such as a tick, can affect various organ systems and evade your immune system, easy to catch and difficult to diagnose, they’re plenty of things we don’t know about Lyme Disease. A few things I would like to highlight are:
Lyme disease does not always have an acute presentation.
Lyme disease can present alongside other infections.
Lyme disease can have long term ramifications.
1. Lyme disease does not always have an acute presentation
Despite exposure to the Lyme bacteria patients may remain relatively healthy for weeks or months at a time. Clinical symptoms can come on insidiously and accumulate over time often with esoteric psychiatric diagnosis, pain syndromes, and other medical concerns. This makes it difficult to diagnose Lyme disease as many patients remain high functioning despite these symptoms although their health often takes a turn for the worse.
2. Lyme disease can often present alongside other infections
Frequently patients who have complex medical issues and decline abruptly are those who have multiple infections occurring at the same time. Their immune system takes a big insult from Lyme and other pathogens like Bartonella, Babesia, Yeast, Mycoplasma, Strep, Mold, and prevents the body from addressing these infections effectively. Often when these patients start treatment for Lyme disease – they require a lot of support for their immune system to fight of these infections and the need for multiple antibiotics and other alternative treatments is required.
3. Lyme disease can have long term ramification
Patients who have had exposure to the Lyme bacteria may have long term health concerns that at a first glance seem unrelated to this pathogen. However, there have been recent case reports as well as papers published talking about patients with psychiatric illnesses and even cancer who have responded to Lyme treatment, and who’s biopsies have tested positive for the Lyme bacteria. For these patients treating their underline medical problem in addition to treating Lyme is advised.
My goal in sending this letter is to raise awareness for the complexity of Lyme disease, highlighting things we know and pointing out some things that we still don’t know. Encouraging those of you who know to spread your knowledge and continue educating yourself and others on this disease. Share what has worked for you and what hasn’t with me and others and know that we are all learning together and that there are many who stand with you in this fight.
Elena Frid MD
ELENA FRID, M.D. ABPN, ABCN
ADULT AND PEDIATRIC LYME EXPERT
BOARD CERTIFIED NEUROLOGIST & CLINICAL NEUROPHYSIOLOGIST
151 E 62nd, STE 1A New York, NY 10065 | T: 212-288-8832
Dr. Frid is a physician specializing in Lyme disease and sees patients with this condition - which is not universal among physicians. For more information about Lyme disease contact Dr. Frid follow Dr. Frid on Instagram @drelenafrid.