Hi, Desperate Man, Kurtosis, Lauracostis, and All,
The blood test for Lyme disease is very
inaccurate! It doesn't test for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease; rather, it tests for antibodies to the bacteria.
It can take two months or more for these antibodies to show up on a blood test, despite someone being actively infected with Lyme disease (caused by the bite of an infected deer tick, for those of you not familiar).
I live in Connecticut -- "hotbed" of Lyme disease. We have deer everywhere. Lyme, CT is where the disease became known as an emerging infectious disorder several years ago -- hence, the name, Lyme disease.
My husband is very much an outdoorsman, and has had it three times! Fortunately, he had such a text-book case each time that he was treated (successfully!) without even having a blood test to confirm. Besides feeling miserable, he had the infamous bull's eye rash that can occur at or near the site of the tick bite -- he was lucky, as this rash is absolutely indicative.
But many people just don't develop that rash.
The treatment is 21 days of the antibiotic, doxycycline.
He now uses proper precaution -- DEET when outdoors in his massive vegetable garden (which is adjacent to woods that are loaded with deer) and a self-check every night.
FYI, he had no idea that he'd been bitten by a tick during any of those three episodes of Lyme disease. The tick only has to be embedded and engorged
on you for 24 hours -- and they're tiny -- so it's very easy to miss them.
At any rate, the blood test is notoriously inaccurate.
It's a two part test -- if the first part, the ELISA test, is positive (a completely non-specific test, which can also be false positive or false negative for a variety of reasons), the lab will automatically perform the second part of the test -- the Western blot. That shows the number of IgG and IgM components that are activated. Based on history and symptoms, Lyme disease can be a suspected diagnosis when there are enough elevations ("bands") of the IgG and IgM antibody levels in the second part of the test.
But -- it's all INACCURATE -- and doctors know that.
If you think there's any chance of Lyme disease -- if you're at risk due to living in an area where deer are abundant, and/or if you have a dog or an outdoor cat (they can bring the ticks into the house -- and they can also become very ill with Lyme disease!) , your doctor should take your concern very seriously. Untreated Lyme disease can have severe
Just want to emphasize -- Lyme disease and POIS have nothing to do with each other.
chronic fatigue syndrome (there are definite criteria) has nothing to do with POIS. Go to http://poiscenter.com/forums/index.php?action=search2
for specific information about chronic fatigue syndrome.
By the way, Desperate Man -- I have a suspicion that ticks are attracted to certain aspects of an individual's body chemistry, as are mosquitoes. I've never
had a tick bite, despite being outdoors in MY garden all summer. Yet, the mosquitoes gravitate to me. If there is one mosquito
-- it will find me and land! However, they ignore my husband completely, unlike the ticks.
Kurtosis -- re: your statement about explaining to the physician about the inaccuracy of Lyme disease testing: "Funny / tragic thing is, if you explained to your doctor, they'd probably just view it as greater evidence of hypochondria / anxiety."
I agree with you, just for the record. Great point! And pathetically sad, also.