I recommend starting with the following tests:
CD57 Panel (cellular stress) (HNK-1) (LabCorp: 505026) and Complement C4a (complement stress) (LabCorp: 004330)
The CD57 is not so much a test to detect Lyme disease as it is an immune marker that tends to be low in the presence of Lyme disease. The sicker the patient, the lower the CD57 count appears to be.
Measuring the CD57 count can be helpful for a number of reasons. First, other illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or multiple sclerosis might mimic Lyme, but those illnesses will not cause a drop in the CD57, so this marker can help determine Lyme disease as distinct from other chronic illnesses with similar symptom pictures. In addition, the CD57 can be used to track treatment progress because it should return toward normal levels as the infection improves.
Western Blot Test
The Western Blot test is one of the foremost tests used in the evaluation of Lyme disease. It is also an indirect test, as are the ELISA and IFA.
A Western Blot reports certain numbers, or “bands,” which can be positive, negative, or indeterminate. The bands represent certain antigens, which are the parts of the bacteria that evoke a reaction from the immune system.
There is a discrepancy as to which bands are clinically significant, and how many of the bands need to be positive to get a positive result. FDA-approved, commercially available kits are restricted from reporting all of the bands. These rules were set up in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) surveillance criteria. Private laboratories that are not held to these rules and criteria are free to produce tests that actually help people get an accurate assessment.
Although there is no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all protocol for Lyme disease, there are accepted pharmaceutical and botanical treatments that have been found to be effective. As chiropractors, we are not licensed to prescribe medications, but it is still important to understand what are the now-accepted protocols passed down from the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS). For information on the accepted pharmaceutical protocols, visit the ILADS website at http://www.ilads.org.
The diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease can be both challenging and rewarding. This disease is hitting epidemic proportions and more healthcare professionals should become knowledgeable in diagnosing and treating this debilitating condition.
Functional Medicine University
This topic of Lymes Disease will be further discussed with patient cases in my September lecture, “Superbug infections of today”. Like any other infections early detection helps with getting better results when treating this condition. –Dr. J