Lyme Disease is a condition that affects many Australians every year. Lyme disease cost is a major issue for those who are affected by the disease. Although there are lyme disease treatment option available in Australia, the cost of lyme disease can pose a big problem for many patients who are unable to afford ongoing and long term treatment.
What is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a debilitating condition that is brought upon when bitten by an infected black-legged tick. In the early stages of the disease, individuals may experience flu like symptoms that can include chills and fever, a stiff neck, swelling in the lymph nodes, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches as well as pain in the joints. The disease may also be identified by a large expanding rash around the area of the tick bite.
Lyme Disease Treatment Options
In its early stages, Lyme disease can be quite effectively treated with antibiotics. Typically the sooner the treatment starts after the infection, the faster and more complete the recovery. For most patients, antibiotics such as amoxicillin or doxycycline are administered orally for 2 to 4 weeks and can assist in quick healing of the rash while also preventing subsequent symptoms of the disease.
Patients who may suffer from other health conditions are treated with different medications to suit their health status. For instance, children younger than 9 years of age or lactating women with Lyme disease are treated with penicillin or amoxicillin as doxycycline has the potential to stain permanent teeth in unborn babies or young children. Those allergic to penicillin are treated with erythromycin or other related antibiotics.
Patients experiencing heart symptoms are usually treated with antibiotics such as Claforan, Rocephin or receive penicillin treatment intravenously for around 2 weeks. If symptoms are severe or do not subside, patients may also be given corticosteroids or assigned a temporary internal cardiac pacemaker.
As the disease progresses, more severe complications like nerve problems and arthritis may occur.
Costs to the Health Care System and Patients
Prolonged illness in individuals can easily become very costly with treatment expenses estimated at $1.3 billion annually. Statics also show that expenses incurred to the health care system for treating Lyme disease patients costs about $2,900 more per patient than other patients who do not suffer from the tick borne disease. Lyme disease patients were also reported to be five times more susceptible to need post treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS) related symptoms including nerve and joint pain and fatigue.
The health care costs for an individual diagnosed with Lyme disease with either a single or multiple PTLDS related conditions was established at around $3,800 more than for another patient who did not show any such symptoms.
For patients, ongoing treatment for lyme disease can be expensive, costing hundreds of dollars per month. There are many drugs that are required to be taken for months on end and result in high cost for Australians.
Impact of Quality of Life
Lyme disease also shows the potential of impacting the quality of life of individuals. Since symptoms may include subtle disturbances in mood, memory and sleep they can have a debilitating impact on different aspects of life. Suffering individuals may not be able maintain full time employment, sustain their independence or keep up successful relationships. Everyday skills like the capacity for task performance, planning, scheduling, organizing and household maintenance may also be impacted.
Although individuals with Lyme disease may appear physically well, many are seriously disabled with issues ranging from short term memory loss, attention deficits, or other mood disorders affecting their daily life. Difficulties faced by adults can affect their quality of life regarding their ability to work successfully in any setting and may be dependent on the assistance of others for daily routines and errands. The same concerns in children center on their ability to attend and complete school or the skills to make and maintain friendships.
All these limitations can quickly lower the quality of life for Lyme disease patients and not everyone is able to afford the lyme disease cost of medication needed to treat the condition. As a result many have succumbed to growing medical debt and find themselves in dire need of additional financial assistance to meet their medical bills.
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4. Financial destruction from lyme disease: http://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-financial-destruction/