What is Lyme Disease | Patient Resources and Information

What is Lyme Disease | Patient Resources and Information 2018-01-09T21:02:31+00:00

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Lyme disease is a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by Ixodes ticks, also known as deer ticks, and on the West Coast, black-legged ticks. These tiny arachnids are typically found in wooded and grassy areas. Although people may think of Lyme as an East Coast disease, it is found throughout the United States, as well as in more than sixty other countries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the US every year. That’s 1.5 times the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer, and six times the number of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS each year in the US. However, because diagnosing Lyme can be difficult, many people who actually have Lyme may be misdiagnosed with other conditions. Many experts believe the true number of cases is much higher.

Lyme disease affects people of all ages. The CDC notes that it is most common in children, older adults, and others such as firefighters and park rangers who spend time in outdoor activities and have higher exposure to ticks.

What Is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete—a corkscrew-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme is called “The Great Imitator,” because its symptoms mimic many other diseases. It can affect any organ of the body, including the brain and nervous system, muscles and joints, and the heart.

Image of B. burgdorferi under atomic force microscope. Courtesy of Dr. Eva Sapi.

Image of B. burgdorferi under atomic force microscope. Courtesy of Dr. Eva Sapi.

Patients with Lyme disease are frequently misdiagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and various psychiatric illnesses, including depression. Misdiagnosis with these other diseases may delay the correct diagnosis and treatment as the underlying infection progresses unchecked.

 

Hawthorn Healing Arts Center can give you more information about testing and treating Lyme’s Disease.  Please also connect with the following groups:

Oregon Lyme

Support Groups in Oregon

Bend, OR Facebook Group