Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Home Health Lyme disease has "dominated" my life

Lyme disease has "dominated" my life

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media labelingMorven-May MacCallum suffers nine years after the start of treatment

Morven-May MacCallum says that her life is still "completely controlled" by Lyme disease nine years after the start of treatment.

About 200 people a year in Scotland are affected by the disease, but it is believed that the actual number is much higher.

The disease is a bacterial infection that is transmitted through a sting of an infected tick.

The Scottish chief physician has written to all of the country's NHS boards and family physicians, urging them to watch over Lyme disease.

The advice of Catherine Calderwood comes amid an increase in cases of debilitating condition

She said that physicians should be aware of the risks when the patient has walked in areas with ticks outdoors in the past.

Ms. Calderwood said it was difficult for a general practitioner because the symptoms of a patient could be vague – fatigue, soreness, possibly a runny nose – and the likelihood of Lyme disease is low.

There's a pronounced rash that's shaped like a bull's eye, but not everyone gets one and this can make the diagnosis difficult.

According to health guidelines, antibiotic treatment is an effective treatment for most people, but many claim that they have a chronic form of the disease that persists with severe symptoms.

Such a condition is not generally accepted by doctors.

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At the age of 14, Morven suddenly became ill

Morven-May of the Black Isle is now 26, but she was only 14 when she suddenly fell ill.

"I was very busy with mountain biking and riding, and I went to Munros this weekend," she told the BBC Disclosure program Under The Skin.

"I was training to climb up Mount Morven in Caithness, I was one of those really annoying people who never stopped, I just kept going, I just jumped everywhere."

All this changed when what started to feel like a flu became more serious.

She said, "I would fall asleep on the school bus and come home and just collapse on the couch, literally getting up, going to school and collapsing in utter exhaustion every day.

"It came to the point when I had to leave school at 16 because when I came home from school every day, I was so weak that I could not physically walk anymore."

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Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks

Her doctors thought she was suffering from a chronic fatigue syndrome, but then a neighbor who suffered from Lyme disease intervened.

Morven-May said, "They had seen me struggling to leave, and they said to my mother," Have you thought of Lyme disease? "

"She did some research and presented the research to the doctors and professionals I saw, and they once again refused to accept that it could be Lyme disease because all of my blood tests were always negative. "

It was eventually confirmed by a Lyme Disease expert in a private clinic in England.

Morven-May said, "She diagnosed me clinically after she examined my history, then ordered blood tests that went to America and Germany, and where Lyme disease was positive."

It has been nine years since she began treatment, but she said that her life was still "completely controlled by the disease."

"There's not a single second when I feel I'm not under my control and monopolize my body," she said.

Lyme disease

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There is often a pronounced bullseye rash

  • Ticks that cause Lyme disease are common throughout the UK
  • The risk areas include grass and forest areas in southern England and the Scottish Highlands
  • To reduce the risk of bites, cover your skin, put your pants on socks, use insect repellent and stick to the paths
  • If bitten, remove the tick with a pair of fine tweezers or a ticks removal tool available at the pharmacy
  • Clean the bite with antiseptic or soap and water
  • The risk of disease is low as only a few ticks are infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease
  • You do not have to do anything unless you feel unwell
  • You should go to your family doctor if you have been bitten by a tick or visited an area where infected ticks have been found and flu-like symptoms or a circular red rash have occurred in the last month
  • These symptoms may include hot and shivering sensation, headache, sore muscles or nausea

Source: NHS Choices

Lyme was first recorded by doctors in the US in the 1970s.

In the United Kingdom, reported cases are increasing and the Highlands are considered a hotspot for infections.

Dr. James Douglas, a general practitioner in Lochaber, regularly sees patients with the disease.

He told BBC Scotland's Disclosure that the tick bite would be the first obvious sign, but if the bacteria penetrated deeper into the body, it could cause a fairly serious illness.

"It can primarily affect the nervous system, so it can lead to paralysis," he said.

"It can affect the joints and when it's at this stage, antibiotics can safely get rid of the bacteria, but in a percentage of people, they have some really pretty debilitating symptoms for a considerable amount of time."

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Dr. Lucy Gilbert is a tick specialist, but a doctor refused to believe she had Lyme disease

Dr. Lucy Gilbert from the University of Glasgow is a leading expert on ticks and Lyme disease.

She said when she was bitten, her doctor refused to accept that it could be a Lyme disease.

Dr. Gilbert said, "It was really frustrating because I knew I had it, I found a tick on me, I knew it was the right kind of tick, it had been on for at least 24 hours, it was one of them Area where I knew other people had previously had Lyme Disease, I had the bullseye rash that was supposed to be diagnostic. "

Later, another doctor prescribed intravenous antibiotics and she completely recovered.

Most doctors say that definitive evidence of chronic or long-term Lyme disease has not been provided.

Dr. Douglas said there is "scientific uncertainty" in understanding how the immune system of different people reacts to the bacterium.

He said, "I think what happened is that the bacteria are no longer there, but I think their immune system is still very active and that they get these symptoms themselves due to the activity of the immune system and almost the nature of the body fight. "

Disclosure: Under the Skin is on BBC 1 Scotland on Monday, June 17, at 8:30 pm and on the iplayer.

Previous disclosure investigations include:

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