Lyme Disease Diagnosis
Unfortunately, the diagnosis of Lyme disease can be, and often is, protracted and painful and for many patients it is the journey to correct diagnosis that takes the most time in their recovery from this infectious disease. Knowing what Lyme disease is (and isn’t) and presenting it as a viable option to your physician is likely to make them considerably more receptive to the idea as a differential diagnosis for depression, stress, or even fibromyalgia or multiple sclerosis. Family doctors are often overworked and under lots of stress themselves and, whilst these are not excuses to dismiss a potential cause of an illness in a patient, they may find themselves feeling less inclined to consider a patient’s insistence of a Lyme disease diagnosis if the patient presents them with a litany of complaints unlikely to be related to the illness and appears to know little but the Lyme disease myths.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, specifically by B. burgdorferi sensu stricto in the United States but by a number of suspected variants of the bacteria in Europe and Asia. The disease is known medically as borreliosis but also as Lyme disease due to its identification as a bacterial infection in the town of Old Lyme in the 1980s. Patients may call it Limes, Lime, or Lymes, or incorrectly call it neuroborreliosis when there is no sign of central nervous system involvement and this may, again unfortunately, make them appear ill-informed and easier to dismiss than a patient armed with sound knowledge of the illness they suspect is wreaking havoc on their life.
Don’t Dismiss Lyme Disease
Doctors who encounter a patient with a thoroughly documented history of symptoms, accurate records of travel both interstate and international, and an openness to their illness being completely unrelated to Lyme disease may be much more likely to help their patient explore their options for testing and expedite a diagnosis and treatment. Doing some of the work for your doctor, but not too much, can help ensure a good working relationship to help you heal faster. It is important to understand that they too have preconceptions about Lyme disease, its incidence, the kind of patient who may misuse the illness as a diagnosis, antibiotic addiction, misleading medical information available online, and a number of other things that can cause them to either ignore the possibility of the infection, or favor other avenues despite the appreciative signs of Lyme disease in the patient before them.
Help your doctor help you, know a little about Lyme disease when you see your physician and then you’ll be in a much stronger position to argue your case if needs be. Having this knowledge will also help in maintaining an open mind so as to allow for the possibility that their assessment of your symptoms could indeed be correct and that you may not have Lyme disease at all. What’s in a name? When it comes to Lyme disease, an awful lot it turns out.