Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tick Season

It's that time of year again.  As a kid, I can remember my mother saying "OK kids, tick check!"  Boy, has that phrase evolved into something scary over the years.  With any outdoor activity (sports included) this has to be a concern for the ATC.  Several years ago, I was working with a baseball player rehabilitating a post-op menisectomy, when he developed pain and effusion in his knee.  Consulting initially with his orthopedist, we scaled back our regiment thinking we were too aggressive.  Several weeks and  setbacks later, this "simple" case was frustrating all of us.  Only when some routine bloodwork was performed did an unlikely answer come back: Lyme Disease.  It was a big turning point for me as a clinician in looking beyond orthopedic causes of health issues in athletes.   I strongly recommend a documentary "Under Our Skin", which details the origins of lyme disease interweaved with stories of current sufferers.  A word of caution, it is fairly shocking to see how some are affected.  It also looks at the relationship between universities, researchers, and funding from insurance and pharmacology companies.   
Some key points the film raised (there are many more):
Lyme disease is prevalent; 35000 cases currently, perhaps as many as 420,000 (far exceeding HIV and West Nile); it is the 6th most common disease in the U.S.
It seems a stigma exists in that some health care professionals either don't recognize the symptoms soon enough, or they fail to associate the widely varying symptoms of Lyme to the disease itself.
Further complicating the issue, some physicians question the symptoms of lyme, perhaps suggesting that the symptoms are psychological. 
Nine out of 14 authors of the IDSA Lyme Disease Guidelines have rec'd money from lyme disease vaccine manufacturers.
Some words of advice:
Make sure your athletes and their parents are aware of ticks and to check regularly for them.
FMI, check out what the CDC has to say about it here.
Interesting CDC fact: 95% of cases occurred in 12 states (yes, Maine is one of them)

Take home point: Be a knowledgeable consumer.  In every aspect of your life.  Assume no one will advocate for you, except for you, and research for yourself!

1 comment:

  1. Watched "Under Our Skin" and thought it was great. I actually found it making me pretty angry. I dont want to give to much away. Everyone should check it out