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A Brief History of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease has only been known for a relatively short time. The first ever case was recorded in 1975 in the United States in Lyme, Connecticut. Lyme is a bacterial infection spread through the bites of some ticks. The bacterium causing it is called Borrelia burgdorferi.
Lyme disease is a multisystemic illness: it has a long and diverse list of possible symptoms, and it can affect several tissues and organs. Its most distinctive sign is a bull’s eye-shaped rash that usually develops at the site of the tick bite within days or weeks. However, the rash is only seen in about 70–80% of patients.
How To Treat Lyme Disease
Early diagnosis is crucial. The sooner Lyme disease is diagnosed, the better the treatment outcome. However, the first symptoms are flu-like and often very mild in people with healthy immune systems. Therefore, the infection can be very difficult to recognise and diagnose in the absence of a rash.
In its initial stages, Lyme disease can usually be quickly and effectively treated with a course of oral antibiotics. If it remains undiagnosed for a long time, more severe symptoms may develop several months or even years later, such as arthritis, neurological disorders, heart disease and meningitis (inflammation of the protective membranes surrounding the brain).
Symptoms affecting the nervous system include facial paralysis, memory impairment, difficulty concentrating, and pain or numbness in the limbs. Severe headaches and visual disturbances also tend to occur if the illness is allowed to progress. Some patients also experience depression, anxiety and panic attacks.
Since the symptoms of Lyme disease can mimic other conditions, it’s often misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other psychiatric conditions.
There are some laboratory tests available to check for the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi in the blood. However, the results are often inaccurate in the early stages of infection, and false negative results are extremely common. Therefore, doctors normally diagnose Lyme disease by taking multiple factors into account, such as any physical signs, symptoms and the patient’s history of tick bites.
The Difference Between Acute and Chronic Lyme Disease
When Lyme-causing bacteria first enter the body through the infecting tick bite, the immune system recognises them as harmful and starts fighting them. People with strong immune function may not notice any symptoms at this stage.
If the illness isn’t diagnosed and treated early on, the bacteria can live inside the patient’s cells for a long time without causing any serious symptoms. They can travel to many different tissues and organs in the body while remaining unnoticed.
However, symptoms do eventually surface in most cases. When the immune system weakens due to another medical condition, stress or environmental factors, the bacteria can proliferate unhindered. This is when chronic Lyme disease occurs as a result of a widespread infection.
Once the immune system has been disrupted, it will continue to dysfunction as the bacteria flourish. Severe symptoms begin to develop during this chronic phase, which may even last a lifetime.
The Health Benefits of Colostrum
If you've heard of colostrum before, you might be wondering, exactly what is colostrum? And is colostrum vegan? Well, the answer to the latter is no – bovine colostrum is a milky fluid secreted by cows during the first few days after giving birth, before regular milk appears. Its purpose is to promote growth and establish a robust immune system in the newborn. It’s rich in important proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting antibodies. The concentration of antibodies in bovine colostrum is up to 100 times higher than in normal cow's milk.
Human mothers also produce colostrum shortly after giving birth. Not only is it essential for the development of babies, but it has also been found to have significant health benefits during adulthood.
Due to its very similar chemical composition to human colostrum, bovine colostrum has been the subject of extensive research, which has found that it contains certain nutrients absent from any other dairy products. These findings have established colostrum as a popular dietary supplement.
Can Colostrum Treat Lyme Disease?
The vast majority of medical professionals agree that antibiotic therapy is the only effective treatment for Lyme disease. Colostrum shouldn’t be considered as a substitute for antibiotics, but it may be used as a form of complementary therapy while taking the prescribed drugs.
Colostrum can help boost the body’s natural defences and support the effects of the antibiotics. As a result, pathogens maybe destroyed more quickly and efficiently. Once the infection has cleared up, colostrum may also help reduce any remaining inflammation and bring the immune system back to its natural balance.
There’s some evidence that dietary supplements containing bovine colostrum may also have some other benefits that can contribute to the recovery process of Lyme patients. These include reducing allergies by curbing an overactive immune system, improving intestinal hyperpermeability (leaky gut), and boosting muscle strength and stamina by aiding the natural repair mechanisms of damaged muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves.
However, despite evidence of the health benefits of colostrum, it is still subject to intense research. Studies and clinical trials related to humans still need to be performed to evaluate its beneficial impact. So far, information available on positive effects is only available from single patients and individual cases rather than scientific studies.