Lyme Disease
Chronic Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by the
bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi,
and is transmitted to humans by
the bite of infected blacklegged
ticks. Courtesy of Centers for
Disease Control & Prevention,
Public Health Image Library.
Lyme disease is bacterial tick-borne illness that can cause skin, heart, joint and nervous system problems. In the early phases of Lyme disease, you may experience fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches and swollen lymph nodes. A bull’s-eye rash often, but not always, appears shortly after infection at the site of the tick bite. This rash, called erythema migrans, is observed in about 80% of Lyme disease patients. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body within several weeks. You may notice additional rashes, facial muscle paralysis (particularly on one side), meningitis causing severe headaches and neck stiffness, pain and swelling of large joints, shooting pains and an abnormal heartbeat.

Lyme disease patients who are diagnosed early and receive proper treatment usually recover rapidly and completely. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to make a quick and accurate diagnosis. More often than not, it isn’t possible to confirm a tick bite. These creatures are tiny and prefer latching onto hard-to-see areas of the body such as your armpits, groin or scalp, so it’s likely you won’t notice its presence. By the time you start feeling sick, the tick could be long gone. In addition, ticks can carry multiple bacteria and parasites, including babesoisis, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, bartonella and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (also called Spotted Fever Rickettsiosis). At least 20 percent of the ticks that carry Lyme also carry another infectious agent.

A key component of early
diagnosis is recognition of
the characteristic “bull’s-eye”
rash, and is observed in about
80% of Lyme disease patients.
Courtesy of the Centers for
Disease Control & Prevention,
Public Health Image Library.
If you experience some symptoms of Lyme and have a high risk of exposure to ticks because you spend time outdoors in the warmer months or own outdoor pets, we recommend a blood test to confirm or rule out a Lyme diagnosis.

Some people may experience bouts of symptoms for years after the infection, including muscle and joint pain, fatigue and cognitive weakness. This condition is referred to as chronic Lyme disease.

For most cases of Lyme disease, a brief course of antibiotics is enough to clear the infection and become symptom-free, however, our approach is to take the time to explore the onset of your condition, the specific nature of your pain sensations and the overall status of your health. To gather additional information about your condition, your Kaplan physician may also order diagnostic laboratory testing (for example, for other tick-borne infections).

After reviewing all of the factors contributing to your condition, your physician will spend time talking with you about your diagnosis and working with you to create a customized and multi-dimensional treatment plan that addresses your symptoms and any possible co-existing conditions that may be causing or aggravating your health problems.

We’re here for you, and we want to help. Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible.

Please call (703) 532-4892 to schedule an appointment, or for more information, please click here.




Chronic Lyme Disease

Photo courtesy of Centers for
Disease Control & Prevention, Public
Image Library.
Chronic Lyme Disease is a tick-borne illness associated with a large range of symptoms that may include joint pain, fatigue, night sweats, a sore throat, swollen glands, a stiff neck, palpitations, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, sleep disturbance, poor concentration, irritability, depression, back pain, headache and dizziness. If recognized early, Lyme disease can be treated and cured with antibiotics. In some cases, however, the symptoms persist for months or even years. This condition is referred to as Chronic Lyme Disease or Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome.

Every individual is unique in their genetic makeup, medical history and environmental exposures, and each of these factors can affect how chronic Lyme disease manifests itself in your body. In addition, chronic Lyme disease shares symptoms with other chronic illnesses, which can complicate the process of diagnosing and treating the disease. For example, chronic Lyme is frequently misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, Celiac disease and other autoimmune disorders. Finally, testing sometimes reveals that a patient is suffering from more than one serious health issue, a situation that can undermine attempts to treat the Lyme infection.

At the Kaplan Center our physicians have years of experience diagnosing and treating patients with complex, chronic conditions such as chronic Lyme disease.

At your first visit, your Kaplan physician will take time exploring the onset of your condition, the specific nature of your symptoms and the overall status of your health. You’ll also be asked about the medications and therapies you’ve tried in the past, and what has and hasn’t worked for you. To gather additional information about your condition, specialized diagnostic laboratory testing may be necessary.

After reviewing all of the factors contributing to your condition, your physician will spend time talking with you about your diagnosis and working with you to create a customized and multi-dimensional treatment plan that addresses not only your immediate symptoms, but also any possible underlying or co-existing conditions that also may be causing or contributing to your symptoms.

We offer a multitude of effective treatment options, including:

We’re here for you, and we want to help. Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible.

Please call (703) 532-4892 to schedule an appointment, or for more information, please click here.