What is Lyme Disease?

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Lyme Disease

The number of Lyme disease cases reported each year has steadily increased since 1991. In 2006, nearly 20,000 cases of Lyme disease were reported, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lyme disease starts with a rash and if not treated, can hurt the nervous system. This guide helps you learn its causes and symptoms. Read how Lyme disease is treated, get the latest research and learn where to find support.

What is Lyme Disease?

Some types of ticks, such as the deer and black-legged variety, carry a spirochete that can be transferred to humans through the tick bite. The first symptom of the spirochete’s infection is typically a red rash that forms a bull’s eye pattern around the bite, or red spots, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Use this section of the guide to learn what Lyme disease is and how it’s transmitted in humans and animals.

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  • A number of Lyme disease sites recommend the book “Cure Unknown” by Pamela Weintraub, about her family’s ordeal in being diagnosed and treated for Lyme. The blog A Lyme Disease Journal called it “comprehensive, balanced, and informative.”

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Lyme Disease Symptoms and Treatment

Catching Lyme disease early is important for successfully treating it. Depending on the source, Lyme is either an extremely easy-to-treat or enormously complex disease. This section of the guide helps you learn the symptoms of Lyme disease and how it is treated, and shows you where to find clinical trials.

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  • A common abbreviation online is LLMD, which means “Lyme Literate Medical Doctor.” Lyme literate means the doctor has learned more about the disease. A recurring complaint online among those with Lyme is that most doctors don’t understand chronic Lyme or how to treat it.

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Lyme Disease Support

On the Web, some people are chronicling their struggle with Lyme disease on blogs. Use this section to find face-to-face support groups and read about other people’s experiences with Lyme.

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  • Support sites, forums, message boards and chat rooms can all be used as support outlets. Moderated Web sites are usually run by volunteers who are familiar with the particular issue and can ensure that the conversations stay on track. Un-moderated boards can be useful, but beware that there may be people with an agenda different from yours. Always use caution when chatting on the Web.

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News and Research on Lyme Disease

Visit the sites below for news on Lyme disease and Lyme disease research studies.

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  • Some sites (PubMed, for example) either post or help you find abstracts (short summaries) of articles from professional journals. The full-length articles are only available to the paid subscribers of the journals. The abstracts, however, do give a good sense of the studies and their findings.
  • Note that not all of these sites are updated daily; it depends on what is going on in the Lyme disease world.

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