Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Brings Relief to Those with Chronic Lyme Disease
First identified by a Yale University researcher in the 1970s, Lyme disease is caused by bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi and spread by the blacklegged tick. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2013 that 300,000 people get Lyme disease every year in the United States. Lyme disease can progress from feeling feverish, tired and achy to far more serious conditions. It can impact the immune and nervous systems, the eyes, brain, heart and other organs.
Accurately diagnosing Lyme disease baffles doctors for two reasons. First, tests for the disease can yield both false positives and false negatives, and second, early symptoms mimic those of many other health conditions, including the flu. Patients also get misdiagnosed with arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, MS and Lupus. Only around 60 percent of those with Lyme disease will present with a telltale bullseye rash.
Doctors in New England and the Upper Midwest encounter Lyme disease so frequently that they routinely prescribe antibiotics – regardless of whether patient blood tests return negative. That’s because when left untreated Lyme disease can even prove deadly. In fact, in August of 2013 a 17-year-old young man from Poughkeepsie, New York, died from Lyme carditis (inflammation of the heart) after suffering flu symptoms for just three weeks.
Recent Study Shows HBOT Effectively Treats Those Afflicted with Lyme Disease:
For most people who catch Lyme disease early, a course of antibiotics frequently knocks out the infection. Many people, however, do not completely recover, even after multiple courses of medication. On its website, the Lyme Research Alliance lists 87 symptoms associated with the disease. The headaches, arthritic pain, fatigue, confusion and neurological symptoms can feel unbearable. Thankfully, many Lyme disease symptoms respond well to treatment with hyperbaric oxygen therapy – even when other treatments have failed.
During HBOT sessions, pure oxygen floods the body at higher than normal air pressures. This high oxygen level allows blood to send vital nutrients to cells, helping to promote healing. Patients get a boost to their immune systems and find that many impaired functions in their bodies are fully restored. In one Texas A&M University pilot study by Dr. Donald Freeman and Dr. William Fife, 40 Lyme disease patients received HBOT five days per week for around four weeks, some in conjunction with antibiotics. All but two of the patients improved, and saw improvements even after they discontinued the HBOT and antibiotics.
Each patient did report Herxheimer (Herx) reactions, which often also occurs with aggressive antibiotic therapy. These reactions are caused by the die-off of the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, and include grogginess, headaches or a low grade fever for a day or two. Once Herx symptoms subsided, patients reported they felt more energetic and their pain had improved. They also said they were able to more clearly.
Here at the National Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Center, in addition to these benefits, we see how glands and organs resume functioning normally during the course of treatment.
If you or a loved one suffers from chronic Lyme disease symptoms, we can help you to decide whether HBOT is right for you during an assessment. Simply click here to schedule a time or call our center at (727) 787-7077.
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