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The Fatal Truth About Lyme Disease: What Everyone Should Know

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255396_121731471303041_865189947_nYou have heard, and will hear, it time and time again: “Lyme disease is cured with a few weeks of antibiotics.” If this is the case, why are hundreds of thousands –if not more- suffering for years on end from the disease? According to the CDC, they are not, because chronic Lyme disease does not exist:

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“Approximately 10 to 20% of patients treated for Lyme disease with a recommended 2–4 week course of antibiotics will have lingering symptoms of fatigue, pain, or joint and muscle aches. In some cases, these can last for more than 6 months. Although often called “chronic Lyme disease,” this condition is properly known as “Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome. [1]”

For people suffering from Chronic Lyme, this statement is infuriating because they feel they are being told they are crazy; and also because pain, fatigue, and joint/muscle aches are often the least of their worries. Much more serious health complications arise from Lyme, and it is important that the public is aware of these symptoms. When looking at the bigger picture, the infuriating part is just how dangerous this statement is. If left untreated, Lyme disease can and will be fatal. That is the sad and often ignored truth.

Furthermore, it is estimated that only one out of every ten cases of Lyme disease is actually reported and that numerous individuals are misdiagnosed. In 2010 alone, state health departments reported 22,561 confirmed cases of Lyme disease and 7,597 probable cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The actual number is believed to be much higher than the yearly number of cases reported. One reason for this is due to the fact that reporting criteria varies from state to state; and most states take time to report only the minimum amount required. Still, the number of reported cases has increased 25-fold since national surveillance began in 1982 [4].

Of course it is three years later, but unfortunately 2010 is the most recent year researched. So if the number of reported Lyme cases was only continuing to increase at that time, and since there has been no evidence of a decrease in cases, it can only be assumed that the number of people with Lyme disease is appallingly higher at the present moment. There are so many angles to touch on this topic, so let’s start with the very basics because there are many, many people who do not so much as know what Lyme disease is, much less how you contract it.

 

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What is Lyme disease?

  • According to ‘Wikipedia’, “Lyme disease, Lyme borreliosis is an infectious disease caused by at least three species of bacteria belonging to the genus Borrelia [2].”
  •  In lay terms, Lyme disease is an infection from a tick bite.
  • Eloquently put by ‘Tired of Lyme’, “the non-technical term is what can truly depict Lyme disease best.  It involves aspects ranging from every angle of the lives of those affected including physical, mental and social. [3]”

Initial Symptoms

  • Bulls-eye rash is a definite positive of Lyme disease. However, only 50% of people with Lyme disease recall having a bulls-eye rash. The rash can also appear in bruise form depending on a person’s pigmentation. For example, a bruise that is blue/black on the outside, with a lighter color circle in the middle is a clear indication of Lyme disease. If you get to the doctor while you still have the rash, you have a better shot of getting treated right away and not having to deal with Chronic Lyme disease. As I will discuss later, testing is not always accurate, so getting to the doctor when you notice a bulls-eye rash is imperative.
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Muscle and joint aches/pain

The above symptoms describe the typical initial onset of Lyme disease. But what if you, or someone you know, miss the crucial time period in which those are the only symptoms? Unfortunately, there are over thirty other symptoms, each of which can mimic other diseases. This along with the fact that standard testing is only 30% percent accurate is why it is of the upmost importance for the public to be informed on, at the bare minimum, the basic truths behind Lyme disease.

Other Symptoms

  • Low grade fevers, “hot flashes” or chills
  • Night sweat
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen glands
  • Stiff neck
  • Migrating arthralgia’s, stiffness and frank arthritis
  • Myalgia
  • Chest pain and palpitations
  • Abdominal pain, nausea
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Poor concentration and memory loss
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Depression
  • Back pain
  • Blurred vision and eye pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Testicular/pelvic pain
  • Tinnitus
  • Vertigo
  • Cranial nerve disturbance (facial numbness, pain, tingling, palsy or optic neuritis)
  • Head aches
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Mysterious migrating symptoms that seem to come and go

Testing

A few blood tests are available for Lyme disease, but none are 100% accurate. The standard test is called an ELISA test. Oddly enough though, the ELISA is not based on the specific Lyme bacteria strain that is most beneficial for diagnostic testing. Therefor, the ELISA has a mere 30% accuracy rate. A negative reading can be meaningless, because false negatives are more common than not. A false positive is basically unheard of, so if you are lucky enough to test positive in the early stages it is a clear indication that you have the infection and need to start treatment right away. I use the term “lucky” here not because you are lucky if you have Lyme, but because you are lucky if you have Lyme and test positive early on. For many, it takes one pain-staking year after another before they are so much as introduced to the idea that they may possibly have Lyme disease. Another available, yet less administered, Lyme test is the Western Blot. While this test is slightly more reliable than the ELISA test, it is still faulty.

Doctors should not rely on test results alone to make a Lyme diagnosis because to date, a reliable test for the diagnosis of Lyme disease ceases to exist. Lyme doctors make a diagnosis based on a patient’s symptoms, medical history, and exposure to ticks –although that last one is not required, since ticks know no boundaries. Contrary to the popular statement that ticks are prevalent only in certain areas, the truth is you can walk outside your own front door and get bit.

If it all possible, it is best to get to a Lyme literate doctor if you believe you may have Lyme disease. This too also proves to be a difficult task, as many do not publicize that they specialize in Lyme disease due to legal reasons. To receive a list of Lyme literate practioners closest to you, email the ‘Tick Borne Disease Alliance’ at medicalinfo@tbdalliance.org.

Resources:

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/postLDS/
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyme_disease
  3. http://www.tiredoflyme.com/
  4. http://tbdalliance.org/getinformed/overview2

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We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

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Boy or Girl – Baby Gender Selection Issues

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Some parents have the possibility to opt for gender selection; however, being able to decide whether to have a baby boy or girl is a controversial issue.

Many couples expecting a baby do not think it’s a big issue whether they have a boy or a girl; however there are several medical, social, and personal reasons that could influence parents to recur to some form of gender selection.

Like many other controversial practices, the legality of gender selection, also known as sex selection, varies from country to country.

The Legality of Baby Gender Selection

The United States has perhaps some of the most relaxed laws regarding baby gender selection in the world. Most European countries and Australia, on the other hand, have bans on sex selection and only allow it for medical reasons. For example, if a parent is a carrier of a mutation or gene with more chances of manifesting itself in a certain gender, baby gender selection is valid. However, if parents simply wish to balance the ratio of boys and girls in their family, they are not allowed to recur to sex selection.

This has generated a form of medical tourism in which couples from countries where gender selection is illegal, like the UK, travel to the US in order to be able to choose whether to have a baby boy or girl.

On the other hand, sex selection is illegal in the two most populated countries on Earth, China and India. In these countries, baby gender selection has been performed clandestinely for many years and for reasons other than family balancing or avoiding genetic diseases. In these societies, having a baby boy is preferred mainly for cultural and economic reasons. Parents believe that boys have better chances of earning income and eventually support them when they reach an old age.

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Methods of Baby Gender Selection

There are two major types of gender selection methods: the first one is called sperm sorting, and involves separating X-chromosome sperm from Y-chromosome sperm by flow cytometry, a purification technique in which chromosomes are suspended in a stream of sperm and identified by an electronic detector before being separated. Intra-uterine insemination or in-vitro fertilization can then be performed with the enriched sperm. The success rates for this method vary from 80% to 93%.

The other method, called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, consists in generating several embryos through in-vitro fertilization, which are then genetically tested to determine a baby’s gender. The chosen embryos can then be implanted. This method has a success rate of almost 100%; however, it can be quite expensive, costing up to $15,000.

Issues Regarding Baby Gender Selection

While there are few objections against baby gender selection when it is performed for medical reasons, it has become a highly controversial issue when it is used for balancing the number of boys or girls in families. Some people raise the obvious ethical question of whether people who opt for gender selection are “playing God” by manipulating whether to have a baby boy or girl. Others believe that new parents will raise a baby more appropriately if he or she belongs to their preferred gender.

Gender Imbalance Caused by Baby Gender Selection

Gender selection has caused demographic concern in China and India since it has contributed to generate a gender imbalance in the populations of those countries. In some regions of China, for example, the sex ratio for newborns is 118:100, boys to girls. This phenomenon has in turn been associated with social problems such as an increase in violence and prostitution.

It seems like a logical solution for governments around the globe to legalize baby gender selection but to analyze the personal reasons why each couple intends to select a baby boy or girl. Gender selection for medical reasons should even be encouraged, since it could prevent serious genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, and Haemophilia A. Balancing the gender ratio of a family should be accepted if by doing this, a healthy family environment is created. On the other hand, China and India have shown that baby gender selection as a result of a bias towards a particular gender can not only create a gender imbalance in the population, but contribute to social problems as well.

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We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

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Organic Certification: What the USDA Organic Label Means

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Organic and natural labels mean different things, and various types of labels tells you what percentage of ingredients are actually organic. We'll explore what to look for.

  • Reflect On:

    Do you sometimes buy products thinking they are organic or fully natural based on their wording? Have you later found out that those products aren't natural or organic at all? Read labels more closely at grocery stores to be aware.

Don’t get conned by fraudulent claims of “natural” or “organic.” Learn what to look for, and why it’s important, to ensure you’re getting the quality you are paying for.

The industrial age of the 20th century brought about changing agricultural practices that have generated increasing alarm about the effects of these practices on the environment and health. The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, irradiated and genetically altered food and fiber products has created a groundswell of rightful concern. It has led to the growing demand for non-toxic, organic products that many are willing to pay a higher price for to ensure the healthful purity of food and clothing provided for their families.

With such profit opportunities, it’s little wonder that the lucrative organic product market has suffered abuse with so-called “organic” labels being fraudulently placed on products that have not earned the right. As a result of pressure from farming and consumer groups, legislation for the standardization of organic certification was introduced in the 1980s. It has been updated to include more vigorous enforcement and control methods since, with the current standards established in 2002 by the USDA.

The Standards of USDA Organic Certification

Specific standards must be met in order to legally claim a product as USDA certified organic. Organic producers must utilize methods that conserve water, maximize soil health, and reduce air pollution. The specific standards to earn USDA organic certification include:

Free of synthetic chemicals such as insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics, and additives

Free from irradiation and genetically modified organisms

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Agricultural products grown on land that has been free of prohibited substances for a period of three years

Animals used for meat, eggs, milk or other animal products must be exclusively fed foods that are organically grown, may not be given antibiotics or hormones, and must have access to outdoors.

Clean and sanitized harvesting and processing equipment throughout the process from harvest to finished, packaged product

Detailed chain-of-handling records from the field through final sales

Physical separation of certified organic products from non-organic products throughout the process of production

Regular on-site inspections from USDA-approved inspectors to ensure compliance

Understanding the Certified Organic Label

Once the rigorous process of certification has been completed, organic producers may place the USDA certified organic seal on their products. Currently, there are four levels of certified organic products, with a specific definition of the percentage of organic ingredients the final products contains. They are as follows:

• 100% organic: all production methods and ingredients are USDA certified organic.

• Organic: at least 95% of the production methods and ingredients are USDA certified organic with remaining ingredients included on the National List of allowed ingredients.

• Made With Organic Ingredients: at least 70% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic with remaining ingredients included on the National List of allowed ingredients.

• No organic wording or seal: less than 70% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic and no claims may be made on the front or back of the product.

Manufacturers or producers who knowingly label a product “organic” when it does not meet the USDA standards are subject to fines up to $11,000 per violation.

Why Organic Certification is Important

When you see the official USDA organic certification seal on food, clothing, and bedding products, you can be assured that these products have met the meticulous standards required and are free of chemicals, toxins, antibiotics, and hormones. When you see the USDA certified organic label, you will understand the value of the higher priced organic products as compared to non-organically produced products.

With the current stringent organic certification requirements enforced by regular inspections from USDA accredited agents, the USDA certified organic label has great meaning and importance to the consumer. Look for the label to know that you are getting the quality you are paying for.

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We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

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WHO Finds Global Lack Of Inactivity Rising Especially In Wealthier Countries — What You Can Do

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Inactivity is on the rise and it's the cause of a wide range of health concerns. Our population is only becoming more inactive, not less, and it's time to change that.

  • Reflect On:

    There are many factors of our modern world that make us less active. Our jobs, driving rather than walking/biking, too much screen time. What can you do differently to bring more activity into your life? What story stops you from starting?

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than a quarter of the entire population on this planet are not getting enough physical exercise, this number has barely improved since 2001. There are many factors that contribute to this, but just how much damage are we doing by failing to be active?

The lack of physical exercise raises the risk of many health problems, such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes and various types of cancers.

Interestingly, according to their study published in The Lancet Global Health, higher income countries, such as the UK, were among the least active population. Women were also found to be more sedentary throughout the world, excluding two regions in Asia.

The study looked at self-reported data on activity levels from 358 population based surveys covering 168 countries and included 1.9 million people.

The populations of higher income countries, which include the UK and USA showed an increase in the proportion of inactive people and had actually risen from 32% in 2001 to 37% in 2016, in the lower income countries it remained at 16%.

Those who were classified as inactive did less than 150 minutes of moderate exercise and around 75 minutes of intense activity per week.

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It was found that women were less active than men overall, except for in South and Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and higher-income Western countries. The authors believe that this was caused by a few different factors including extra childcare duties and cultural perspectives that may have made it more difficult for them to exercise.

Why More Inactivity In Wealthier Countries?

According to the researchers, in the wealthier countries, many of the jobs have transitioned to more office or desk jobs, meaning a more sedentary type of lifestyle. On top of that much of the population of these countries drive automobiles or take public transit to and from work which in many cases accounts for a lot of their time.

In the lower income countries, many of the jobs require the people to be more active, are physically demanding and people often have to walk to and from their jobs.

The WHO has had a goal to reduce the global levels of inactivity by 10% by 2025, the authors of the study feel that at the rate we are currently going, this target will be missed.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Regina Guthold said, “Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health.”

Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health and the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.”

Co-author, Dr. Fiona Bull added, “Addressing these inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets and will require interventions to promote and improve women’s access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable.”

According to the WHO,

Exercise guidelines for 19- to 64-year-olds

How much?

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week
  • strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles
  • break up long periods of sitting with light activity

What is moderate aerobic activity?

  • Walking fast, water aerobics, riding a bike on level ground or with a few hills, doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower, hiking, skateboarding, rollerblading, volleyball, basketball

What counts as vigorous activity?

  • Jogging or running, swimming fast, riding a bike fast or on hills, singles tennis, football, rugby, skipping rope, hockey, aerobics, gymnastics, martial arts

What activities strengthen muscles?

  • lifting weights, working with resistance bands, doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and sit-ups, heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling, yoga

What activities are both aerobic and muscle-strengthening?

  • circuit training, aerobics, running, football, rugby, netball, hockey

Final Thoughts

I was surprised to see that the WHO didn’t touch on inactivity due to too much screen time — watching television, Netflix, Facebook scrolling, messaging, texting, browsing etc. Certainly, the increase in screen time plays a roll with the amount of inactivity, especially in the higher income countries. If you are someone who spends too much time staring at a screen, then it is important to consider the above information. Can you limit your screen time and replace it with something active? Or would you consider jumping rope, or rebounding while watching the television? Our health is our greatest wealth and having awareness about an issue is the first way to create change and take responsibility for our lives.

Could you walk or bike to work instead of drive? What about trying a new sport? Could you commit to adding a few hours each week of physical activity? These small decisions could have a profound impact on your health, longevity and overall well-being.

Much Love

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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