Tips for Coping with Lyme Disease
If you’ve ever gotten Lyme disease from an infected tick bite, then you know how uncomfortable the illness can be. Some people don’t realize just how frustrating and painful the disease can be for those suffering from it. Joint and muscle pain that lasts for days or weeks at a time, countless trips to the doctor’s office, misdiagnoses and failed treatments all can make for an extremely stressful period of time.
Coping with Lyme disease can be particularly difficult because oftentimes the illness is misdiagnosed, which leads to treatment plans that don’t work and ongoing sickness and pain from the disease. Because there is no conclusive test to determine whether or not a Lyme disease infection is present, misdiagnosis is common. This can be especially frustrating for people that are told that their symptoms are “all in their head” or that the symptoms are purely psychiatric and that they need anti-depressants. There are more than 100 different symptoms of Lyme disease, which can make it extremely difficult for doctors to narrow down the symptoms into one illness. The disease is also commonly misdiagnosed as another type of ailment, such as arthritis, and so the patient does not receive proper treatment.
If you are coping with Lyme disease in your life, following are some tips that may help you as you fight the disease:
Understand Lyme disease – Get familiar with the disease. Educate yourself on the basics of Lyme disease, such as its causes, symptoms, how it is diagnosed and prognosis. Lyme disease develops from the bacteria Borrelia, which is most commonly transmitted via the bite of a deer tick. Once the bacteria invade your body, you’ll most likely begin to experience symptoms within a matter of weeks. Symptoms include a reddish bulls-eye shaped rash, fever, fatigue, and arthritis-like muscle and joint pain. Coping with Lyme disease and its symptoms certainly is not fun, but by examining your symptoms and medical history, your doctor will hopefully be able to make a proper diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment can begin. This will most often include either oral or IV antibiotics to rid your body of the bacteria. Understanding the illness and how it affects your body is an important part of coping with Lyme disease.
Explore your treatment options – Talk to your doctor about different treatment that may be available. Antibiotics are most commonly used to fight the disease. However, there are alternative therapies available, although they have not been studied thoroughly during clinical trials and therefore may not be as effective.
Be patient – This is the hardest thing to do when you’re feeling awful, but it’s very important when coping with Lyme disease. You need to give your body time to heal and respond to treatments, and worrying or stressing over how long it’s taking or dwelling on how bad you feel will NOT help you recover any faster. In fact, it’s more likely to slow down your recovery. So just hang in there — you will get better in time.