Dr. Adrian Baranchuk from the Kingston General Hospital Research warns health care professionals in Canada to be aware of a serious complication of Lyme disease.
The bacteria can start attacking the heart before doctors realize what’s occurring within the patient.
Dr. Baranchuk claims some patients can develop a rare condition called Lyme carditis.
This bacterium disturbs the electrical system of the heart.
Doctors must recognize the symptoms in the early stage, and treat the patient, even if they don’t have the results to confirm infection with Lyme.
Ticks are the main carriers of Lyme disease, and they spread bacteria that causes fever, fatigue, joint pain and other symptoms.
If the bacteria travels through the blood and reaches the heart, it can cause inflammation and disrupt the electrical system of the heart.
This condition is called “heart block,” as it slows the heartbeat.
It also causes dizziness, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
If not treated, the heart will completely shut down.
Dr. Baranchuk says he’s had many patients come with heart block symptoms in the last 18 months, and a large majority of these people are at least 50 years old and all went on outdoor activities like camping or hiking.
Dr. Baranchuk advises that misdiagnosis is common, “One of the things we noticed was each one of them had attended a different ER two to three times before anyone thought about this condition.”
Lyme carditis is difficult to diagnose because of its rarity.
Lyme disease also has vague symptoms that are very similar to the flu.
Dr. Baranchuck worries that many other potential cases are misdiagnosed or unnoticed.
“We have the suspicion that there are way more cases than are reported because doctors are failing to report it.“
Lyme bacteria can be killed with antibiotics.
Dr. Baranchuck published a paper advising doctors to treat unusual heart problems with antibiotics, even before getting the results that confirm Lyme infection.
In a circumstance like this, it is better to play it safe rather than be sorry later on.
If it becomes too late, the patients that don’t get antibiotics will need peacemakers.
Dr. Baranchuk concludes by saying, “These patients may not require pacemakers to be implanted. They can be treated with IV antibiotics for 10 to 12 days, and the electricity of the heart will recover completely forever.”
Seeing as just how harmful Lyme disease is, it is highly advised to use an EPA registered, IR 3535 Insect Repellent to repel tick bites and other bacteria transmitting bites.