Ashley Olsen may have Lyme disease, adding her name to the list of celebrities battling this condition. Although this is the first time that the famous twin of Mary-Kate Olsen has been mentioned in connection with Lyme disease, she’s been suffering silently for a while, reported Hollyscoop.
In addition to Ashley, Alec Baldwin and George Bush struggled with Lyme disease. More vocal about their condition and its impact on their bodies are singer Avril Lavigne and Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills Yolanda Foster.
But what is Lyme disease, and how does it impact the body? It affects more people and is more dangerous than anyone except researchers fully understand, reported Healthline.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 300,000 Americans receive a diagnosis each year, but projected that the actual rates of infection are 10 times higher. Of those diagnosed, 14 states contain 95 percent of the cases.
The Northeast, states along the Mississippi River border, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts frequently report cases of Lyme disease. But because the disease only was actually diagnosed in the 1970s, understanding of the symptoms, how to diagnose it, and how to treat it are still in progress, said Amesh A. Adalja, an infectious disease physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
When a person is bitten by a tick infected with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, that tiny creature attaches itself to the body. After it has clung there for 36 to 48 hours, the tick has given the disease to its human recipient.
But prevention is possible. These little critters reside in grassy, woody areas. As a result, hikers and even those out for a casual stroll in such areas are advised to wear protective clothing, plaster on the DEET lotion or spray, and then check carefully for ticks once back home.
After someone does get infected, 80 percent notice a rash. It looks like a target for shooting: The center may be a solid red, with a white ring around it. In addition, those infected might feel feverish or chilly and experience an aching sensation or pain. But progressive symptoms can be heart-breaking, as Yolanda Foster, below, discusses.
The challenge for diagnosis, however, is that the tests work only for a few weeks after the person has been infected. As a result, although doctors also look at the symptoms and tick exposure, the blood test may not be the final determination.
To treat Lyme disease, doctors generally prescribe 10 days of antibiotics (doxycycline, cefuroxime, or amoxicillin). But problems exist with those prescriptions, ranging from allergies to drug-resistant bacteria.
The Lyme Research Alliance (LRA) offers both information on the condition and help finding a doctor to treat the condition. The LRA also has educational resources.
For Yolanda Foster, the knowledge that Avril Lavigne had been diagnosed resulted in immediate sympathy and offers of support, as the Inquisitr reported. But Avril suffered terribly before she was diagnosed.
“I felt like I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk and I couldn’t move. I thought I was dying,” said the singer.
Yolanda expressed her pride in Avril’s decision to go public with the news.
“I took Avril under my wing when she first got sick and shared all I know. I am so proud of her for going public, and helping us bring awareness to this debilitating disease,” added the 51-year-old.