Lyme disease is a complex illness with many variables, which makes it a highly controversial topic in the medical world. On the most basic level, Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is usually transmitted by blacklegged ticks and affects an estimated 300,000 patients a year in North America. While most cases tend to be clustered in certain regions, the infection is increasingly widespread across the globe and stands as the most common vector-borne illness in both America and Europe.
In a perfect world, Lyme disease can be identified by a bullseye rash, diagnosed with a little bloodwork and treated with a course of antibiotics. Unfortunately, for too many, this is not the case. Lyme disease is insidious and can be very serious affecting multiple systems. It is one of the most misunderstood, misdiagnosed and mistreated illnesses, which remains both a mystery and sometimes a topic contention among the vast majority of medical professionals.
Dr. Robin Ridinger is a double-board certified, integrative medical doctor in Leesburg, VA with over 25 years’ experience treating complex conditions such as Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, hormone imbalances and autoimmune diseases.
If you have been struggling with chronic illness and looking for compassionate care in the midst of the mystery, contact Dr. Robin today!
Compassion Meets Complexity
Lyme disease, like many other chronic illnesses, is challenging to diagnose and can be even more difficult to treat. Often patients are exhausted from months, even years, of chronic fatigue and a host of symptoms that tend to wax and wane only to be dismissed by their healthcare provider.
Dr. Robin Ridinger is a board certified in both Integrative Holistic Medicine and Family Medicine. She believes in taking the whole person into account, listening attentively to her patient’s journey in its entirety and meeting them with utmost compassion.
Treating Lyme disease requires persistence on the part of the provider, and there is no magic pill. Frequently patients present with chronic symptoms long after a course of treatment with antibiotics should have resolved things. Yet when life doesn’t go back to normal, so-called “experts” may deny the diagnosis of Lyme disease altogether despite diagnostic and historical evidence. There is a misconception that if the cure doesn’t work, then it must not be the disease. How frustrating to then ask, “What do I have then, Doctor?” only to be told three of the most exasperating words in healthcare, “We Don’t Know.”
Super Sleuth, Dr. Robin
Dr. Robin is highly regarded as a Lyme-literate medical expert who believes in treating the person, not simply the disease. Her tenacity in uncovering the roots of illness is matched by her kindness and creativity in finding solutions for your overall wellness and healing.
Lyme disease is often multisystemic resulting in pandemonium in the immune system and what is known as Lyme complex. Ticks, like nature’s dirty needles, surprisingly carry a wide range of bacteria, of which the medical community has barely scratched the surface in research. You may be surprised to learn virtually all patients are co-infected with multiple tick-borne infections, and their symptoms may present in multiple systems throughout the body. More often than not, patients are labeled with one condition such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression or even malingering without ever uncovering the root cause of disease.
Dr. Robin may use comprehensive testing in conjunction with a close study of your medical history to determine the extent of imbalances. She will then create a personalized evidence-based treatment plan tailored specifically for you. Treatment may include special diet, supplements, bio-identical hormones, thyroid and adrenal support, medications, if necessary, I.V. vitamin/mineral therapy or oxidative therapies. Her toolbox is complete with a host of therapies, all at her disposal to apply within the context of the each patient’s individual story.
Lyme Disease and Co-Infections: It’s All Connected
Lyme disease and its co-infections wreak havoc on the immune system resulting in excessive systemic inflammation. The immune system can easily become compromised or suppressed, a condition known as immunodeficiency, whereby the immune system is in a state of hypoactivity and susceptible to persistent infection.
When the system is overloaded, auto-immune disease can occur as well. Like soldiers caught in the chaos of battle, the body’s own defense mechanism may miscalculate the enemy resulting in friendly fire incidents. The autoimmune system becomes hyper-vigilant and literally attacks its own healthy cells unable to discern who, what or where the real enemy is.
Inflammation, immunosuppression and autoimmunity can be further compounded by factors unique to the individual. Everybody is different and every body carries its own set of strengths and weaknesses, including sensitivity to molds, toxins, foods, medications and environmental factors. A multisystemic approach is absolutely necessary to bring the immune system back into order and optimum health.
Dr. Robin will carefully and strategically examine your unique story and may focus on specific areas such as:
- Allergic triggers
- Healing the gut
- Balancing hormones
- Calming the nervous system
- Reducing toxic exposure and enhancing detoxification
- Treating infection
So Many Microbes, So Many Affects
Ticks carry a cesspool of microbes which may result in any number complications if not treated successfully. Chronic inflammation and infection can cause a ripple effect to multiple systems downstream. This why Integrative, Holistic healthcare by a board-certified doctor is crucial! Finally, we will explore some of the cascading effects that may manifest as a result of Lyme disease complex.
Nervous System and Neuropsychiatric Disorders
The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) and its co-infections Babesia and Bartonella are responsible for an array of neurological issues beginning with brain fog and cognitive dysfunction. This can hinder one’s ability to make healthy choices and follow through with treatment regimens. Neuropsychiatric disorders may also arise, such as anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. Certainly, these things can be secondary responses to the stress of chronic illness. However, they may also be a result if infection yielding neuroinflammation and neurotransmitter imbalance.
Autonomic Nervous System Destabilization
Your autonomic nervous is responsible for regulating the body’s automatic activities that sustain you night and day without conscious effort on your part. Dysautonomia, brought on by Lyme disease complex, can create chaos to autonomic systems including heat and cold intolerance, unstable blood pressure, irregular pulse and labored breathing.
Lyme Wars: A Battle to be Fought for You
Because symptoms can manifest months or years after initial infection or without the patient’s knowledge, some providers overlook or deny the possibility of Lyme disease as a root to their patients’ illness. Meanwhile there is much debate surrounding how to both treat and diagnose Lyme disease and its accompanying affects. One camp maintains the belief that Lyme is difficult to contract and easy to treat, holding fast to traditional standards of care with antibiotics. The other camp considers that Lyme is much easier to contract than once believed and explores a wider range of treatment options. Here’s more information about how to prevent Lyme disease and treat tick bites.
Research of evidence-based treatment is ever expanding and a truly Lyme-literate doctor understands that the battle is to be fought for the individual and does so with utmost integrity and compassion.
If you are serious about getting to the root of your health issues, Dr. Robin Ridinger is serious about helping you find answers now!