Tag Archives: Borreliosis. Lyme

Tick Town: Increasing Occurrences of Lyme Disease

First recognized in the United States in 1975 after a puzzling and unexplainable outbreak of debilitating health issues near Lyme, Connecticut, it was not until 1982 that doctors identified the correlation between deer ticks and Lyme disease. The disease is caused by several strains of the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick. Once a tick emerges from an egg, it frequently becomes infected during its larval or nymph stage, as it feeds off small animals like squirrels, mice, or birds that carry the Lyme-causing bacteria. During the tick’s subsequent feeding cycle, it passes the bacteria to a human, or another animal.

Early symptoms of the disease often manifest as a flu-like illness, with accompanying fever, chills, muscle aches, and joint pain. While the characteristic ‘bulls-eye’ rash called erythema migrans is often present, many people develop a different type of rash, or none at all. Moreover, a host of Lyme symptoms occur in other diseases, and as a result, many patients suffering from Lyme disease are misdiagnosed with conditions like fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and other psychiatric illnesses, before being correctly treated.

If Lyme is not diagnosed or treated in its early stages, it transitions to a chronic, highly problematic late-stage disease, and symptoms increase in their severity. Untreated Lyme disease will eventually infect joints, the heart, and the nervous system—causing nerve paralysis and meningitis, and difficulty with memory and concentration.

There are approximately 329,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, and the number of those infected is expected to increase. According to Rick Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, the illness is on track to produce its worst numbers in 2017. Moreover, many experts believe the true number of Lyme cases is higher than reported, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention require ‘objective measures’ like positive blood tests or rashes; therefore, estimates indicate that CDC surveillance only captures approximately 10% of reportable Lyme cases. There is currently no vaccine for Lyme disease, and most researchers note that the FDA-approved blood tests are often inaccurate.

Because of the multi-faceted and complex nature of Lyme, neither standard nor functional medical treatments work very well in this patient population, nor is it enough only to treat the infection in many patients. Andrew Heyman, MD, MHSA, a renowned expert in chronic infections and Lyme disease, states: “Common complaints such as fatigue and weight gain can be wrapped in a much deeper problem such as Lyme that may be underlying the clinical presentation. To successfully treat Lyme patients, one must eradicate the infection, resolve the chronic inflammatory response and repair the injury to the brain – all of which is possible with targeted therapies to restore patients back to health.” A true specialist in this field, therefore, must have an extraordinary ability and capacity to treat the patient as a whole, with experience and skill in not only hormonal balance, stress management, microbiome health, and detoxification, but also genomics, brain trauma and injury, chronic infections, and mold exposure—along with managing other complicated factors associated with Lyme disease.

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Physician of the Month: Susan Marra, MS, ND

Susan Marra, MS, ND

A4M valued member Susan Marra, MS, ND, shares great insight from her professional experience in this Physician of the Month feature.

Based in Seattle, WA, Dr. Marra has more than 15 years of experience successfully diagnosing and treating Borreliosis/tick-borne illness, and has helped over 10,000 patients return to health. Additionally, Dr. Marra has been completely successful in overcoming her own battle with Borreliosis/Lyme disease, and has been symptom-free for more than seven years. Her personal road to recovery aids her in understanding the difficulties patients experience on the healing journey, and heightens her compassion for patients in search of a proper diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

Q: Before becoming a member of A4M, what was your medical background?

I have a Masters of Science in Psychology, and a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine. I largely practice Integrative Medicine, but I needed a well-organized, thoughtful, comprehensive refresher course after nearly 20 years of practicing medicine.

Q: What anti-aging techniques have you incorporated into your practice and how did you do so?

I use more natural hormonal therapy in my practice as the result of my anti-aging training. Balancing hormones is an art that requires significant study and practice, but I believe as the result of using them, my patients are happier and healthier than ever. Understanding how the hormones influence each other was something that I took away from this course in much greater depth than I had known previously. For that, I am grateful. The teaching was phenomenal.

Q: What are the benefits of practicing Anti-Aging Medicine?

The greatest benefit by far is to witness the increase overall sense of wellbeing that I see in my patients. They are happier and enjoy life more, and are better able to handle stress in their lives because they have underlying endocrine and organ support. For me, this is the greatest accomplishment that I could achieve as a professional.

Q: Why would you recommend Anti-Aging Medicine to your peers?

There are many reasons for learning Anti-Aging Medicine but mostly to service the continuous increase in the population of aging people. Anti-Aging Medicine allows for people to live healthier, longer lives, and enjoy their golden years with fewer ailments. This is also “common sense” medicine. In my opinion, A4M and the Metabolic Medical Institute have THE most comprehensive education program in the country with the most qualified teachers. The seminars are fantastic and you can do a lot of coursework online, so that you don’t have to miss much clinic time. I found that if you listen and study the material well, you will be well prepared to apply the newly learned material in your practice. Clearly, there was a lot of thought put into the development of this curriculum. It was outstanding.

Q: Where do you see the future of Anti-Aging Medicine 20 years from now?

I believe that Anti-Aging Medicine is and will be at the forefront of progressive medicine in this country for many decades to come. Also, with the rise in genomic research and available diagnostic testing, the marriage of Anti-Aging Medicine and genomic medicine is extremely exciting. This will allow for true personalized medicine to be delivered in the office setting. I am excited about the developments in both fields, and will continue my education to reflect the ever-changing landscape of 21st century Integrative Medicine.

Open to all A4M Members: If you would like to be featured as A4M’s Physician of Month, please write us at info@a4m.com.

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