Janis C. Kelly
October 31, 2014
“Health care providers should consider Lyme disease as a cause of cardiac symptoms in patients who live in or have visited a high-incidence Lyme disease region, especially during summer and fall months and regardless of whether the patient reports erythema migrans. Additionally, health care providers should investigate the potential for cardiac involvement in patients who have other signs or symptoms of Lyme disease, particularly if they report chest pain, palpitations, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or syncope,” the authors write.
The follow-up investigation to a December 13, 2013, report of three cases of sudden cardiac death associated with Lyme carditis included examinations of Lyme disease in seven high-incidence states. Lyme carditis was defined as acute second-degree or third-degree atrioventricular conduction block accompanying a diagnosis of Lyme disease.
During 1995 to 2013, the 121,894 cases included 1696 cases of Lyme carditis. Age-adjusted all-cause mortality (0.6% within 1 year of Lyme disease diagnosis) was lower than expected based on national rates. “Two of these deaths (0.002% of the total) were classified as suspected cases of Lyme carditis–associated mortality after review of available clinical information,” the authors write.
The two new cases were men in their 40s and 50s, both had clinical evidence of disseminated Lyme infection, and both experienced cardiac arrest within 6 weeks of Lyme disease symptom onset.
Median age for Lyme carditis was 43 years, but carditis was more common among men aged 20 to 39 years, among women aged 25 to 29 years, and among those older than 75 years than in patients aged 55 to 59 years. Most carditis (69%) was diagnosed during June through August. Patients presented with “fatigue, malaise, muscle and joint pain, shortness of breath, chest pain, and syncope,” the authors note.
“In reported cases, sudden cardiac death remains infrequent when Lyme carditis is recognized and treated with appropriate antibiotic therapy. However, two additional suspected sudden cardiac deaths associated with Lyme carditis were discovered, bringing the total number of cases identified during this investigation to five (three confirmed and two suspected). These cases highlight the public health and clinical challenge that Lyme carditis poses and the need for better primary prevention strategies,” the authors conclude.
The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014;63:982-983. Full text
Why Do Those With Lyme Disease Become Estranged? – Tired of Lyme l Lyme Disease Support & Consolation.
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Health first. Social Life second.
1. Mental and physical symptoms
2. Fear of ridicule, embarrassment, or misunderstanding
It’s hard enough for a person with Lyme Disease to track down and attain all the answers for themselves regarding their own state of health, and then to be questioned about their battle with Lyme Disease from another person? Forget about it! Lyme Disease, in a nutshell, temporarily hinders and collapses the life a person knew. They lose their ability to work, go to school, and even perform their once indulging hobbies. It’s not easy for a 45 year old woman to tell her friends and family that she no longer works because of an bona fide illness that may appear delusionally to others as pure laziness. It’s surely no self-esteem booster for a 14 year old boy to tell his friends that he can’t come out and play for the fourth week in a row because he’s too tired. And of course it’s a crushing blow for a 21 year old junior in college to unwillingly bring his college endeavors to a halt. The raw nature of Lyme Disease is unusual and bizarre to a mind that has never embraced or experienced it, and surely will breed misunderstanding in conversions. The misunderstanding or ignorance of Lyme can lead to ridicule about the person with Lyme Disease, giving them all the more reason to not only isolate themselves, but justify their disconnection from socializing.
Without your health, you have nothing
It’s a simple logic: Put your health first! Friends, a lover, and family will likely be there when you’ve recovered. And even if they aren’t, you will possess the ability to make new friends and even repair relationships. It’s a reward that will return for the strenuous efforts you put forth to overcoming Lyme Disease
Most days I don’t complain about how I feel. It serves no real purpose and changes nothing in my circumstance. Some days though, I just need to vent. Today is that day.
You know, I wish I could say that each day is different lately, but that wouldn’t be true. For over a week now, my wrists have caused constant pain, and it shows no sign of stopping. In fact, there are new knots developing in the joints of my already disfigured wrists.
Some of my fingers are already showing disfigurement and sometimes get stuck in an extended position that causes physical pain to adjust. The sad thing is that, as bad as my fingers are already, my toes are much worse. Most of them are drawn and knotted making any attempt at walking very painful. That pain is made worse by the pain and swelling in my knees, especially the right one for some reason.
To those ailments, I can add joint pain in my right shoulder (sometimes it just pops and shoots pain up my neck and down my arm), my left jaw, and sometimes my neck. There is spinal damage in my lower back, I have migraines, there are knots on top of the bones in my legs that run from my knee to my ankle. My left foot is permanently drawn to the inside and I am so tired I feel like I could sleep for hours. My memory is terrible now, and sometimes I can’t think of the right word to the point that I get frustrated and angry.
I have been getting treatments since the end of 2009. I am better than I was but nowhere near better. I likely have some damage to my body that will never go away, so some days (like today) I have to indulge my “poor me” tendencies. I am only human.
As more attention is drawn to Lyme disease and other vector-borne illnesses, those within the medical community are forced to give these illnesses the consideration needed and deserved. As the voices of #Lyme become louder with every new patient, the cry is becoming to loud to ignore.
Every day or two I am presented with news/articles/information of hope letting me know that it is only a matter of time until the entire medical community must acknowledge the prevalence and severity of these infections. So many people continue to suffer because they were not diagnosed within the narrow 30-day post-bite window necessary to stop the infection before it gets too far.
If you don’t know anything (or enough) about #Lyme you may be asking yourself what I mean by too far. The potential symptoms for #Lyme disease are many and often few cases look the same. In many cases, #Lyme affects the joints of the patient’s body. There is often muscle pain and weakness. The associated pain can be very severe and the weakness can turn the patient into an invalid. Symptoms can mimic Lupus or MS. Additional damage can include the heart, the brain or both. Some patients die either because the diagnosis came to late or because they can’t afford to get treated (insurance companies will rarely pay for these treatments.
It is almost impossible to find a doctor who is literate enough in #Lyme disease to treat patients effectively and there is much controversy within the medical community about proper treatment. There are even some who fail to recognize that Lyme undiagnosed for several months or years can become chronic and reach late-stage.
The time has come to get educated about this topic, for yourself and for those you love. The suffering is real and the damage sometimes permanent. Do some research, get involved, consider what it would be like if the patient was you, a family member or a close friend and help spread the word.
At least the government in British Columbia finally gets it.
They now admit that Chronic Lyme disease is real and that Lyme disease is the fastest growing infectious disease in North America.
If only our own government in the US would do the same. There are countless victims here suffering the effects of Chronic Lyme and the associated co-infections. Many of them have no way to pay for costly treatments and continue to get worse while insurance companies refuse to pay.
Most people don’t have a clue about the dangers associated with this terrible disease. Most people don’t realize that it can, and has been, deadly.
More has to be done to educate the public, and most general practitioners, as to the dangers. More has to be done to make our own government see what British Columbia has finally admitted. This threat is real. Citizens of our country are suffering and something must be done.