Last Updated on August 9, 2022 by Lori Geurin
Most likely you’ve heard of Lyme disease, but did you realize Lyme disease is now 4 times more common than AIDS? I didn’t know just how cruel Lyme truly is until getting bit by ticks in the spring of 2012. This led to me becoming progressively and seriously ill.
You can read more about my experiences in:
Lyme poses a real threat to people of all ages in the United States, (and throughout the world). Unfortunately, many of the diagnosed cases are not ever reported. Plus, there is much confusion about the symptoms of Lyme disease due to many unknowns caused by a lack of funds and education (1).
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Lyme, The Great Imitator
For example, did you know Lyme disease is called “the great imitator”?
This is because people with Lyme are often misdiagnosed in the early stages of the disease with a variety of conditions including:
- chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- multiple sclerosis (MS)
- psychiatric illnesses, such as depression
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, CFS and Sjogren’s (as well as others) between having the tick bites and 2 years later when I finally tested positive for Lyme. These positive test results came via both a Western Blot test and a Lyme Antibody test.
I say finally because my family and I knew something was desperately wrong with me, but up until my diagnosis, I went 18 long months without any answers. Avril Lavigne revealed in an interview with Good Morning America in June 2015 that she has battled Lyme. She was also told she had other conditions prior to her diagnosis.
Why are we hearing more about Lyme in the news recently?
Lyme Disease Is Spreading Faster Than AIDS
Tick Populations Are Out of Control
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. And this report was from back in August of 2013. Unfortunately, these numbers will most likely continue to rise unless finding a cure for Lyme disease becomes a priority for our government and the CDC. The incidence rate of Lyme has far surpassed that of AIDS, however, we still don’t have a cure and testing is notoriously inaccurate.
In Jessica Bernstein’s article entitled, From AIDS to Lyme: Will We Let History Repeat Itself? she mentions similarities between the AIDS patients of the 1980s (who were in desperate need of proper medical treatment but went ignored for years until the AIDS epidemic) and present-day Lyme disease patients.
Lyme disease cases were first reported in 1975 in and around Lyme, Connecticut. Because people, animals, and ticks move, the increasing rate of ticks carrying Lyme and people with Lyme continues to climb throughout the United States.
Here is a map showing the spread and growth in the black-legged tick population from 1907 up until 2015. Please note that although this was only three years ago, Lyme has now been reported in all 50 states (or 49, depending on the source).
Tick populations continue to reproduce, with recent years being alarmingly worse than years past. Some say this is due to global warming and the effect it has on the environment.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC),
Forests, farms and cities will face troublesome new pests and more mosquito-borne diseases.
There are several good Lyme disease resources on the internet, but my favorite is ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Association). They offer research-based information and support physician education so doctors can learn about and understand Lyme disease, as well as knowing how to properly treat patients.
Lyme Prevention is Key
Fortunately, you can take action to protect yourself and your loved ones from Lyme.
- Check for ticks daily, especially in the warmer months of the year.
- If you’re going outside wear long sleeves and long pants. Also, tuck your pants into tall socks.
- Spray yourself and your clothing with bug repellent before you head outside.
- Shower as soon as possible when you come inside. Use a mirror to check your back.
- When walking on trails stay in the middle, not by the side where you might easily brush up against tall grass or vegetation.
Want to learn more? I created a Lyme resource to help answer your questions. The guide provides you with:
- more details about Lyme and other tick-borne diseases
- valuable information on diagnosis and testing
- where to find financial help for Lyme patients
- prevention tips
- instructions for how to properly remove a tick
- and more…
all based on research. Simply click below to check it out.
Summary – Lyme Disease Awareness
Even though Lyme disease is spreading, I wish to help raise awareness of Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses so people don’t have to go through what I (and many others) am going through. Can you please help me by sharing this? Thank you!
As always, please let me know if you have thoughts or questions about Lyme disease or other health-related topics. I’m here for you and happy to help!
Do you or someone you know have Lyme Disease or other tick-borne illness? If so, how long did it take for you to get a diagnosis and/or treatment?
Share below in the comment section.
If you want to learn more about Lyme disease you’ll want to read:
- Lyme Disease Awareness
- Is Chronic Lyme Disease Real?
- The Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
- Tick Identification Guide And Protecting Your Pets