It has been described as the "most significant threat" currently facing human health; cases of Lyme disease have quadrupled in the last twelve years and the NHS estimates that there are now 3,000 cases diagnosed annually in the UK although Lyme disease charities believe the actual numbers being infected is much higher …
What is Lyme disease?
It is a bacterial infection that is transmitted by a tick bite. If you’re infected you’ll typically see a bullseye-shaped rash around the bite develop between three and thirty days after you’re bitten, but not everyone experiences a rash which can make diagnosis difficult.
Symptoms include fatigue, joint pain, headaches, heart palpitations and some patients experience memory loss, mental confusion and may suffer from anxiety and depression. It can be treated with antibiotics if caught early, but it is a challenging condition to treat. The bacterium moves very quickly through the body and is highly resistant to the immune system; many sufferers find that physical and cognitive problems are experienced even after treatment, known as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease (PTLD).
In the UK, there is now a gradual recognition that a minority of patients with Lyme disease develop long-term symptoms, but the reason why this occurs and the appropriate treatment model is under dispute. Whether this chronic form of Lyme disease is due to inadequate treatment initially, or from bacterial cells that survive antibiotic treatment or whether there has been damage to tissue and the immune system as a result of the primary infection is still not known.
Intravenous antibiotics are recommended but the appropriate duration and intensity of this treatment option is not proven and there are concerns about long-term, intravenous antibiotic usage.
This uncertainty that clouds awareness and treatment can be very difficult for Lyme disease patients to deal with. Greater knowledge is key to fighting this growing health concern, particularly in how we can improve cellular function and strengthen the immune system. Researchers are examining whether certain nutriments can be of value in restoring cellular health; vitamins D, B and C and minerals such as magnesium all play a role in boosting immunity, supporting physical and cognitive function and reducing inflammation.
IV Boost UK’s medical director Dr Joshua Berkowitz is attending a series of upcoming talks and conferences that focus on Lyme disease and its diagnosis and treatment.