Comparing the Severity of Chronic Lyme Disease and Other Conditions

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Also known as Lyme borreliosis, Lyme disease is an infectious vector-borne disease spread mainly by ticks. According to the CDC, Lyme is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. The spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi causes this disease.

Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms

Lyme disease is commonly divided into three stages, namely; early localized, early disseminated and late disseminated. Although CLD is divided into three stages, symptoms can overlap, and some people may even present in a later stage of the disease without having signs of earlier disease.

Some of the symptoms associated with chronic Lyme disease include:

  • Pain and swelling in the joints
  • Dizziness and shortness of breath
  • Tremors
  • Sore throats
  • Respiratory infections
  • Intermittent fevers and sweats, and chills 

Infectivity of Lyme Disease 

CLD scientists use Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) indicators to determine disease burden, identify health needs and direct public health policy. The indicators help in comparing the burden of illness across various diseases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 300,000 people (approximately 1%) in the United States are diagnosed with Lyme each year. The CDC estimates this figure to be 1 ½ (about 200,000) higher than the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S each year and six times (around 50,000) higher than the number of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS each year in the U.S.

A Brief Comparison with Other Chronic Diseases

CDC used a 9-item metric to conduct a study on 3,090 people selected from an online survey. The respondents were characterized as having CLD if they were clinically diagnosed with Lyme disease and had symptoms persisting for more than six months following antibiotic treatment. 

CDC compared this HRQoL analysis to published analyses for the general population and other chronic illnesses using standard statistical methods.

After the comparison, results showed that patients with CLD had lower health quality status, poorer mental and physical healthy days, a significant disease burden and greater activity limitations. Impairment in the ability to work, increased utilization of healthcare services and high medical costs were among the issues affecting people with CLD.

Compared to the general population and patients with other chronic diseases, CLD patients have significant impaired HRQoL and greater healthcare utilization. This study shows a need for earlier CLD diagnosis and innovative treatment approaches that may reduce the illness burden and accompanying costs brought by this illness.

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