Why We Need More Lyme Disease Funding | Omega

More than three times the number of people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year than were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS at the height of that outbreak, but Lyme gets far less funding and research. Katina I. Makris explains why that needs to change. 

I don’t ever wish Lyme disease or a tick-borne coinfection on anyone; it can be traumatic and life decimating. But, America is behind the times—we sorely lack the Integrative Health Care models of Germany, France, U.K., Canada, and South America. Our pharmaceutical-based methods of wiping out an infection with antibiotics, ignoring the restorative capacities our very resilient body is capable of when given proper support with nutraceuticals and other modalities, and the idea of just squelching a symptom via a palliative drug is soon to be ancient history, a relic of 20th century doctoring.

To quote Thomas Edison,“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

Lyme disease can be a deadly illness. It affects every person in a unique way beyond the initial feverish, flu-like pains and malaise of the acute phase. It morphs and lingers, disseminates and moves its way into the central nervous system—resulting in ALS, Parkinson’s, Bells Palsy, Lupus, CFS, and migraine symptoms when not "caught" quickly enough. This illness can no longer be brushed off. We must work hard. We need billions of dollars, the way AIDS received in the 1990s, to crack the code. Right now that is not happening.

Some excellent studies are being done to figure out the persistent nature of the illness in certain people and the reasons why it triggers "auto-immune" style states in so many. Also, how can more rapid, accurate diagnostic tests be developed quickly? But, sadly, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has doled out very little money to the Lyme crisis, unlike the ample amounts diabetes, MS, and HIV receive. And, shockingly, the Lyme numbers are more frightening. We need help now, and fast. Money must be granted, raised, and donated immediately.

At the peak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early 1990s the annual cases contracted were 104,000, while the Center for Disease Control (CDC) acknowledged, in August 2013, that over 300,000 Lyme disease cases are contracted annually just in the United States (Australia, Norway, Germany, and Canada are stricken perhaps even more densely). That is three times higher than the AIDS peak and climbing. And yet, Lyme receives a mere fraction of NIH funding or attention. The tides must shift if we wish to protect our very vulnerable nation. Everyone is at risk. Children in tall grass, a hike in a national park, and gardening in your own yard puts you in proximity to ticks—the primary carrier.

I have survived the "Lyme calamity." I work daily to voice the need for recognition, integrative medicine, and spiritual healing for the very weary and worn. I am blessed to be a messenger and healing vessel for many. Please do not sit on the sidelines regarding Lyme disease. If you are mobile, get to or start a Lyme disease support group. If you are a health care practitioner, start learning about integrative medicine. If you are curious, go to ILADS.org or LymeDisease.org and get involved or attend a live event near you. We all need able hands, minds, sympathies, and fundraisers to arrest this plague.

© 2014 Katina I. Makris. Used with permission.

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