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What is Lyme Disease?

September 9, 2016

Vector-bourne pathogens include more than Lyme bacteria (of which there are hundreds of strains). North Americans are being infected with other bacteria, as well as parasites. To learn more about Lyme, bartonella, and babesia, continue reading:

Borrelia burgdorferi, or Lyme bacteria, occurs in various forms. Unlike other bacterial infections B burgdorferi is a highly intelligent bacterium that can shift forms to adapt to its environment, ensure its survival, and grow resistant to antibiotics. At first, the host is infected with corkscrew spirochetes with numerous “tails,” not unlike syphilis. When the host’s immune system kicks in or antibiotics are administered the Bb bacteria switches to a cyst form or will hide in another cell. This explains why there are periods of remission and relapse, and why using only one type of antibiotic is ineffective. A combination of herbs or antibiotics that kill the bacteria in all its forms and stages is essential. Unfortunately it often chooses the heart, eye, red blood cells, and brain tissues, which explains the severe disability its victims experience.

Not only does the bacteria shift shapes and hide, but it also has a defense mechanism. Bb and other tick-bourne pathogens release a sticky substance that acts as a shield. It prevents the infection from being permeated by antibiotics or herbal remedies. There are colonies of sticky cells that provide protection. Some researchers find that fibrin protein is a main ingredient of this defense mechanism called biofilm. Clearly the vascular system suffers when cells are sticking together and fibrin is clogging the vessels. The pathogens can communicate with one another to colonize and create biofilm colonies. The biofilm creates inflammation, especially in damaged joints, which explains arthritic pain. The Bb is also capable of sharing information with other genes in the body, to ensure drug resistance and survival within the host’s environment. Such a tiny specimen, unseen by the eye, is intelligent in its offensive and defensive tactics. It is outsmarting our bodies and our understanding of medicine.

Bartonella is a bacteria carried not only by ticks, but biting insects, cats, mice, and other animals. You may have heard of “cat scratch fever.” This term was coined a few decades ago to describe one strain of bartonella infection. It causes stretch marks on the body that can look like cat scratches, but it also is carried by cats, and is passed to another host through clawing or biting. There are over thirty strains of bartonella.

Bartonella is thousands of years old but we have only recently identified it, and see it under a microscope. Using samples from decades ago, researchers were able to determine that trench fever in WWI was caused by a strain of bartonella bacteria. Bartonella Quintana caused the infection suffered by many soldiers. In South America, bartonella infections mostly manifest as Carrion’s disease. In my area, we only test for the cat scratch strain, which I do not have. This explains my negative test results here, but positive results from various labs that test for all bartonella strains.

Although close to 50% of cats carry bartonella, they really are not the sole “problem” or carriers. The antiquated idea that bartonella is simply transferred from cat scratches and bites is causing many people infected from other means to be unreported and undiagnosed. Fleas, lice, ants, dogs, and ticks can infect people with bartonella. Many people have this infection but remain asymptomatic. Others have a lowered immune system or other infections belabouring their bodies, which yields a serious problem with the bartonella. If a person has other infections, bacterial or viral, or even endures a traumatic experience or period of high stress, the bartonella infection will cause problems, reproducing and creating cytokine cascades which result in symptoms.

Bartonella lives on the outside of red blood cells, and creates coagulation. The cells begin sticking together, diminishing the red blood cell ability to transport oxygen properly. This bacteria can cause endocarditis (inflammation of the inner layer of the heart), vasculitis, chronic swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, muscle pain, reactive arthritis, brain fog, dementia-like memory loss, bone pain, headaches, psychotic episodes, rage, and severe anxiety. I know of children who had severe bone pain but were told it was simply growing pains. Years later with proper testing the parents realized these were not growing pains, and the pain was even more severe than the children could describe. Bartonella had infected the children. I have read case studies that document raging, psychotic episodes being calmed with antibiotic treatment, because it was a bacterial infection, and not a mental illness, causing the strong emotions and hallucinations. Antipsychotics do not work if it is a bacterial infection in the brain. Another study reveals that some patients were misdiagnosed as schizophrenic and bipolar, when in fact they had severe bartonella infections. Once treated as bartonella patients, all “schizophrenic” and “bipolar” symptoms dissipated.

Now, those are extreme cases, but many with bartonella in conjunction with Lyme disease, can attest to the periods of irritability, anxiety, muddled thinking, forgetfulness, and pain. The coagulation of blood cells alone leads to hypoxia, depleting muscles and organs of oxygen. Such poor circulation of course results in chills and cramping feet. When a circulatory problem arises, whether inflammation of the heart, arrhythmia, clogged arteries, or vasculitis, bartonella is rarely detected because few doctors know about the infection and fewer labs test for it. Researchers in Europe have found bartonella in the plaque of hardened arteries, and once the biofilm and infection are addressed, by-pass surgery is not required. Something to ponder…

Babesia is a vector-bourne parasite, not unlike malaria. It lives on the inside of red blood cells, again resulting in a lack of oxygen transportation to organs, and especially the brain. The depravation of oxygen creates cognitive problems which mimic early onset dementia. Myalgia (severe muscle pain) is a common symptoms of this parasitic infection as well. People with “Lyme disease” often are infected with babesia as well. Blood smears often show bartonella sitting on the cells and the babesia living inside the red blood cells. It becomes clear that Lymies have anemia that is hemolytic in nature. A low PTT rate explains the “thick” blood and “lumps” many feel going through their chests. All the heart rate monitor tests, ECGs, ultrasounds, and regular blood work will not show red blood cell infections of this parasite as the source of such cardiac symptoms. The heavy limbed, walking through wet cement sensation due to a lack of oxygen and “thick” blood will be deemed as a mystery illness for most. If these patients accept this, or wait much longer before visiting a Lyme specialist, the infections of the red blood cells can lead to paralysis, seizure, stroke, or severe neurological damage.

What does this look like in a practical, day to day setting? Perhaps John once worked out daily and ran road races. Lately he struggles through these workouts, and after, there is no real recovery. The muscles ache for days and the thought of running a race is overwhelming. When he does jog, dizziness and nausea take over. A few months later, after he no longer goes to the gym, he realizes the fatigue is constant, as is the joint pain and achiness. One morning he wakes up and notices the left side of his face is droopy. Bell’s Palsy. These symptoms lift for a couple of months and John returns to normal. But six weeks later his heart palpitates and he has a headache or two every week. He notices bruising, and remembers his sudden clumsy spells of bumping into walls and counters. Going up the stairs to his office is no longer easy. And if he does not write down notes for himself he forgets to finish tasks or run certain errands. One day he even forgets where his wife’s office is and has to pull over to collect his thoughts before picking her up from work. These periods of fatigue, pain, and forgetfulness will only worsen if John does not have proper testing done to detect the infections causing the symptom spectrum.

 

For more in depth information I suggest reading the following books:

Why Can’t I Get Better? by Dr. Richard Horowitz

Healing Lyme, Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections, and Natural Treatments for Lyme Coinfections all by Stephen Harrod Buhner

Check out the following websites:

http://danielcameronmd.com/daniel-cameron-md-lyme-blog/

http://suzycohen.com/articles/lyme_babesia_treatment/

http://buhnerhealinglyme.com/

http://www.ilads.org/

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