Did you know that 50% of people diagnosed with Lyme disease did not get a diagnosis for three or more years? Over 70% were misdiagnosed initially, and it took seeing five or more doctors before receiving the correct diagnosis. This means 70% have chronic Lyme disease before being adequately diagnosed. It is vital to find the right doctor. Here’s how to find the best Lyme doctors in the world.
For any medical condition, seeking the right doctor is critical for healing. The wrong doctor will not have the expertise or equipment to properly treat your symptoms or make efforts to eliminate the disease from your system.
If you have Lyme disease, you know how painful the symptoms can be, including headaches, joint swelling, pain, depression, and stiff neck. Some days the symptoms prevent you from ordinary activities. Find the best Lyme doctors in the world. If you’ve experienced any of the following, you need to search for a new doctor right away:
- Your general doctor has not been able to find out the source of your symptoms
- Your general doctor has put you on several different medications to treat your symptoms but has not found a source
- Your general doctor referred you to a pain management clinic with a generic diagnosis
- Your general doctor refuses to test you multiple times to see if you have Lyme disease
- Your general doctor has diagnosed you with Lyme disease, but claims antibiotics are the only line of treatment
You deserve a symptom-free life, and a Lyme doctor can help you achieve it. Keep reading to find out how to choose the right doctor for you.
Search Professional Organizations
The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) is a great place to start your search. Members of this society are not only specialists in Lyme disease, but they are also researchers and contributors to improving the prevention and intervention of Lyme disease.
The Global Lyme Alliance and Lyme Disease Foundation are other professional groups to check.
Consider Traveling Out of the Country
One of the biggest mistakes in searching for the right doctor is settling for the doctor closest to your home or the one that costs less. You are not shopping for a mechanic or home repair professional. You are seeking someone who can improve your health to start enjoying yourself, your friends, and your family again.
If you find a doctor who practices outside the country, don’t automatically eliminate them. You may find one trip out of the country costs less than bouncing around multiple doctors in the states. Plus, when was the last time you had a vacation. Make your visit to a Lyme doctor multi-purposed.
Check Out Referrals and Reviews
Hearing or reading feedback directly from current or former patients is one of the best ways to gather information about a doctor. Online reviews are often available and can be found by searching for the doctor. If there aren’t many reviews, join online chat rooms and groups related to Lyme disease. Once in the group, ask everyone else for a referral. They will likely give you a name and several reasons why they like or dislike the doctor.
The Lyme Disease Foundation provides a list of online support groups by state. They also have a listing of Lyme literate physicians to help you in your search. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask the doctor directly for references. If they refuse, they are not the right doctor for you.
Make a List of Potential Doctors
When searching, create a top-five list of doctors you feel is the best. Rank them in order of preference, with one being your most preferred Lyme doctor. To determine their ranking, use the following list of must-haves:
- Education should include a medical degree from an accredited university, as well as specialized education and experience directly related to Lyme disease
- Membership in Lyme disease-specific organizations
- Contributions (research, writing, presentations, lectures, etc.) to the study of Lyme disease
- Website, social media, or some other way the doctor stays connected with the community
- Direct connection to Lyme disease or a passionate reason for advancing their study of Lyme disease. For example, they or a family member have Lyme disease
- Can treat all infectious diseases, not just Lyme disease. This is important because Co-infections often accompany Lyme disease
Once you’ve narrowed your list to five, start calling each one.
The right Lyme disease doctor understands you may have questions and are hesitant to travel to meet with someone new. That’s why a telephone or telehealth conversation should occur before making your final decision. When you call, ask to make an appointment for a consultation over the phone. When you speak with the Lyme doctor, ask questions that will give you confidence in their ability to treat your symptoms.
Lyme doctors should confirm they have the equipment to treat you on an outpatient basis in their clinic. They should be able to explain the numerous treatments available, especially the most modern and effective. Also, doctors should share how they test for Lyme disease to confirm a diagnosis.
Once you decide on a doctor, make your appointment, and start preparing for your visit.
Getting Ready for Your Lyme Doctor Appointment
The time before your first meeting is a great time to create a file that you can give to the doctor. The file should include anything that will help your Lyme doctor understand your symptoms. Medical records, doctor notes, journals, or personal documentation regarding your Lyme disease symptoms are helpful. So is a list of medications previously and currently taking, as well as alternative or holistic treatments you’ve pursued. Because it is extremely difficult to try and remember everything you want to tell a doctor when you meet, writing everything down ensures you don’t forget anything.
Finally, get excited. Working with a Lyme disease doctor can lead to healing once and for all. Start looking forward to a fun, active lifestyle. If the right doctor practices out of the country, you can start looking forward to a mini-vacation, too, one you completely deserve.
Contact Lyme Mexico today!
Reviewed by Dr. Omar Morales, MD