Lyme disease is a serious tick-borne illness caused by bacteria of the genus Borrelia, corkscrew-shaped spirochetes. Symptoms include fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes, and sometimes a bulls-eye rash. If not diagnosed and promptly treated with antibiotics, later stage Lyme progresses to increasingly debilitating symptoms. These symptoms may include Bell’s palsy, meningitis, pain and swelling in the large joints, sleep disturbances, and/or Lyme carditis.1 Although CDC estimates about 10 to 20% of patients report continuing symptoms after treatment, or Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), other researchers believe the percentage is higher.
To answer the questions that matter most, we need to identify them and we need to frame them properly. Many of the most critical questions in regards to Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment in our region are not being asked (at least not when, where, or by whom they need to be), are not well framed, are based on poor assumptions, or are all of the above.
In cases where there is information patients don’t have access to, or haven’t found, that would answer these questions, the questions are still essential in seeking it, finding it, or asking for it, as well as for assessing it.
Ticks, it turns out, are a prime example of unasked questions impacting and inhibiting patient care (directly and indirectly, as there are additional paramount influences further discussed in later articles).