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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a two-tiered testing process using the ELISA and Western-Blot tests. A doctor can order the ELISA; if the results are positive, you will be given the Western Blot test to confirm them. 

The problem is that Lyme disease blood test results are not always accurate. In the early stages of Lyme disease, they are accurate less than 50% of the time. Even when Lyme disease becomes chronic, tests are only accurate between 75% and 89%. 

Faulty blood tests lead to many misdiagnoses and leave those with painful symptoms feeling frustrated and confused. Lyme-literate doctors are bridging the gaps and helping many get the correct diagnosis and treatment, all of which are discussed below.

Why Are Lyme Disease Blood Test Results Inaccurate?

For the ELISA and the Western Blot to be accurate, the test must be performed when the Lyme disease antibodies are active so they can be detected. If they are inactive, you may receive a false negative result.

Reasons tests may be inaccurate include the following:

  • Lyme disease bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, hide in cell walls and lining, undetected by the immune system and blood tests.
  • Borrelia burgdorferi create biofilms, tiny slime layers that protect them from being detected by tests, and they are antibiotic-resistant.
  • Borrelia burgdorferi can go dormant. Also, they can remain dormant for months or years without causing symptoms.

While researchers are developing new, better Lyme disease tests, doctors must use other methods to diagnose Lyme disease accurately. Paying attention to the symptoms will help, but it may not be enough.

Why Symptoms Reports Aren’t Enough

One symptom of Lyme disease, the bullseye rash, can help you get a diagnosis and treatment right away. The rash starts as a red mark near the tick bite but grows larger. As it grows, the rash appears in circles around the bite mark.

Not everyone develops a rash after being bitten by the deer tick that carries the Lyme infection. However, they may have other early localized symptoms, including:

  • Headaches
  • Chills
  • Sweats
  • Fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Fatigue 

Unfortunately, these symptoms mimic many other diseases. Your general doctor will likely diagnose you based on the symptom most affecting you. For example, you will likely be treated for the flu if you have chills, sweats, and fever. 

Many doctors may not automatically think to test for Lyme disease. Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, multiple sclerosis, Epstein-Barr, arthritis, and other autoimmune disorders.

 

lyme disease blood test - Lyme Mexico

 

Are There Other Ways to Diagnose Lyme Disease?

Lyme-literate doctors use multiple techniques other than standard symptom reporting, ELISA, and Western Blot. The following are alternative methods to seek if you feel you have been misdiagnosed:

Blood Cultures

Blood can be analyzed under a microscope to discover if Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria exists. The bacteria have a corkscrew shape of up to five spirals. It has inner and outer membranes and cell walls.

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

Lyme bacterium has a specific DNA. The PCR test analyzes a blood or spinal fluid specimen for Lyme DNA. When present, you have the disease and can benefit from treatment.

Antigen Testing

Urine testing is the typical way of looking for antigens or pieces of protein of Borrelia burgdorferi. If pieces of protein are identified, there are traces of Lyme disease.

Cerebrospinal Fluid Test

When central nervous system or neurological symptoms appear, it’s crucial to have a lumbar puncture to determine opening pressure.

Brain Imaging

Lyme disease involves inflammation, including inflammation in the brain. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) effectively determines if the brain has inflammatory abnormalities and white matter hyperintensities, suggesting Lyme disease. SPECT and PET imaging are also options.

Additional Tests

Lyme-literate doctors may perform nerve conduction studies, skin biopsies, comprehensive symptom investigations, and neuropsychological testing. Finally, they test for more than 200 possible Lyme disease coinfections that can cause similar symptoms.

What Are the Treatments for Lyme Disease?

The first line of treatment for Lyme disease is antibiotics. It is crucial to work with Lyme-literate doctors who will administer the correct dose, preferably through intravenous methods, to attack the bacteria where they live in the bloodstream. Antibiotics to treat Lyme disease are usually the strongest and should be given longer than other diseases. If even one bacteria is left behind, it can reproduce, spread through the body, and produce painful symptoms.

Lyme-literate doctors offer alternative treatments to support traditional antibiotic use. Alternative therapies include the following:

  • Therapeutic Apheresis

Therapeutic apheresis involves exchanging infected blood components for donated, healthy blood. Modern equipment performs this safe and quick procedure.

  • Hyperthermia

Hyperthermia uses the body’s temperature as a tool to treat Lyme disease. Your doctor safely raises your internal body temperature to a degree that triggers your immune system to find bacteria, destroy it, and flush it out of your system. Your doctor safely lowers your temperature when the process is complete.

  • Biofilm Eradication

To eliminate the biofilms that protect bacteria, you need something to find the bacteria, stick to it, and remove it from your system. A biofilm eradication protocol includes a combination of anthracycline derivatives and antimicrobials. This prevents the replication of persistent bacteria and their biofilm colonies.

  • Low Dose Immunotherapy

The immune system can become overexcited when fighting infections. Low-dose immunotherapy teaches the immune system to calm down and become more tolerant, which leads to lower inflammation.

Finding a Lyme-literate Doctor

Finding the right doctor can reduce the time and effort you spend trying to get an accurate diagnosis. Many people report spending years following referrals by their family doctor to specialists, who then refer them to other specialists, and none offer a solution. 

Don’t limit your search for a Lyme-literate doctor to the United States or Canada. Prioritize your health and seek treatment from a doctor with expertise to diagnose your symptoms and create an effective treatment plan quickly.

Consider traveling outside the United States, Canada, and the UK to Mexico to meet with a top clinic, Lyme Mexico. The Lyme Mexico Clinic can meet all your diagnostic and treatment needs. Learn more about Lyme disease or schedule an evaluation. We can discuss your symptoms and the alternative treatment options that work.

 

lyme disease blood test - Lyme Mexico

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