New York Times best-selling author, Dr. Richard Horowitz, recently discussed his book, "Why Can't I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease," and commented on how he believes Lyme disease is an unknown epidemic in this country. Previously only believed to be a concern in wooded areas with large populations of deer ticks, Lyme disease may be spreading greater distances than we realize.

"This is the No. 1 vector-borne spreading epidemic in the U.S.," said Horowitz. He attributes this rise to deer ticks attaching themselves, not only to deer, but also to "the white-footed mouse, chipmunks, raccoons, foxes, moles, voles, [and] the ticks are now even on birds." With more animals as carriers of infected deer ticks, this disease is spreading more rapidly than before. Horowitz also noted that Lyme disease has now become "a worldwide epidemic," already infecting 6% of China's population.

Why is Lyme disease still rarely discussed if it is such an epidemic? Horowitz said that some physicians are refusing to look at chronic Lyme disease as a serious issue. This could be because Lyme disease is so difficult to diagnose and even more difficult sometimes to treat, especially when it does become a chronic issue.

Here is what you need to know about Lyme disease to be aware if it's affecting you or a loved one.

1. Lyme disease is "The Great Imitator."

Lyme disease is so commonly misdiagnosed in part because it mimics over 300 different diseases. What one physician may diagnose as MS (multiple sclerosis), another may diagnose as a different autoimmune disease. After multiple diagnoses, chronic Lyme disease patients still feel sick and still do not receive the treatment they need.

2. If it's not caught early on, chances for a cure are less likely.

Generally, if Lyme disease is not addressed within 30 days, the chances of being completely cured are greatly lessened. However, because many of the more prominent symptoms of Lyme disease don't appear until after this 30-day period, patients of Lyme disease have to suffer with this chronic illness with little relief.

3. It's not always transmitted by ticks.

While the spread of infected ticks is adding to rise of the Lyme disease epidemic, they may not be the only factor. Recent studies show that Lyme disease can also be sexually transmitted, not surprising when noted how similar it is to various symptoms and characteristics of STDs such as syphilis.

4. Lyme disease can affect an unborn baby during pregnancy.

Pregnant women with Lyme disease may have cause to worry about the health of their unborn baby. Although antibiotics have been known to help protect the fetus from being infected by the Lyme disease bacteria, in some cases babies were born prematurely or even stillborn when their mothers were carriers of Lyme disease. This occurred with such frequency among mothers with Lyme disease that such has become a legitimate cause for concern.

5. Its symptoms can be as common as fatigue and the flu.

What you may have thought was just a reoccurring cold or exhaustion, may actually be Lyme disease. Remember, Lyme disease mimics other diseases, including incredibly common diseases.

6. Lyme disease can be the cause for psychiatric disorders.

Lyme disease can not only make you bedridden from total exhaustion and lack of energy, but it can also keep you down emotionally. Disorders such as depression, anxiety, and OCD have all been attributed as symptoms of chronic Lyme disease.

7. Your symptoms may be different than another's with Lyme disease.

You may know someone who has or has had Lyme disease with completely different symptoms than you. They might have suffered from facial paralysis, while another Lyme disease patient has suffered from chronic brain fog. Some patients have a bulls-eye rash that accompany the tick bite, but others do not. Again, this makes Lyme disease difficult to diagnose.

8. It has been known to cause death.

Lyme disease is debilitating and can leave its patients in bed for months, but there have also been cases of death from Lyme disease. The most common reason for death among Lyme disease patients is when patient develops a condition called called "Lyme carditis." This happens when the bacteria causing Lyme disease enters the patient's heart tissue. Its symptoms include those often associated with heart disease, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, and heart palpitations. It is when the patient has Lyme carditis that they are at the highest risk of death, as this condition can cause cardiac arrest and death.

9. It's one of the most improperly treated diseases.

Patients of Lyme disease have to spend thousands on Lyme disease treatments, most, if not all, that are not covered by insurance. The most frustrating part is that often these treatments only provide limited relief from pain, but symptoms keep popping up. Often, these patients continue in their struggle with no end in sight. If you or a loved one is struggling to feel better, even after multiple treatments, try the FAR Clinic. Experts in chronic Lyme disease, they understand the struggles of those living with chronic pain and have the tools and technology to get you back on your feet again. Check it out for yourself and call for a free consultation. You deserve to feel better again.

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