Canadian Poli-ticks: Has Canada Moved Forward in the Fight Against Lyme Disease?

Ticks can be found almost everywhere, from city parks to your backyard. That doesn’t mean everyone is at risk of contracting Lyme disease, but the chances are still decent. However, Canada doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to treatment. Many times in the past, patients have had to pursue costly care in the United States, but what about today? Looking to the past and glancing forward, let’s take a look at whether Canada has improved when it comes to fighting Lyme disease.

Comparisons to Other Illnesses

Some Canadian doctors have a hard time accurately diagnosing Lyme disease, and we’re at the point where many aren’t convinced (of common beliefs regarding the disease) and believe there is another cause behind the symptoms. This is because the symptoms of Lyme disease are much like those of fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, dementia, bipolar disorder, and other illnesses. They can include paralysis, dizziness, forgetfulness, loss of balance, and other issues. This can make it tricky to pinpoint what exactly is going on if indicators consistent with Lyme disease can’t be found when diagnosing someone.

Delayed Diagnoses

If a doctor has difficulty in trusting that their patient has contracted Lyme disease, it can be difficult to diagnose them accurately. It’s even harder if the patient themselves isn’t sure what is causing them to be unwell or if they’ve been living with symptoms for months, years, or even longer. Delayed diagnoses can still happen on occasion today, and our healthcare system has made great efforts to minimize errors. Still, many doctors remain insufficiently informed (through no fault of their own), which hinders our progress in fighting Lyme disease here in Canada.

Alternatives to Aggressive Treatment

Lyme disease is tricky not only to diagnose but also to treat. While there is no entirely reliable treatment just yet, there have been many improvements made over the years. An example is what is known as the Western blot. Many individuals, including Canadian wine entrepreneur Gabe Magnotta, could have been more accurately tested and diagnosed with Lyme disease if this were more widely used back then. Even though there still is no “guaranteed” way to treat Lyme disease, there are alternatives to more aggressive treatment that could end up weakening patients in the first place. What is most important is that we get better at training doctors and give them access to the latest methods.

At this point in time, we’ve hardly moved forward in fighting Lyme disease. Our doctors need improved training, access to the latest diagnosis and treatment methods, and backing by the Government and medical organizations to make a tangible difference. With initiatives such as the Canadian Lyme Foundation and the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, we aren’t alone. Additionally, the Canadian government has poured $4 million more into funding more Lyme research. There’s a chance we can improve our care and help protect local communities — we just need to keep the subject in the spotlight and help local doctors receive the aid they need.

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