Bed Bugs & Irregular Heartbeats

September 29, 2010
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Bed bugs pose a silent danger for developing chronic debilitating symptoms that mimic other disorders such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and lyme disease caused by the protozoa, Tripanosoma. The symptoms can be confused with other disorders and include, irregular heartbeats, palpitations, dizziness, cardiomyopathies, shortness of breath or ‘air-hunger’, slow gut motility, nausea, lack of appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain that is chronic, problems with swallowing, chronic swollen lymph nodes, constipation, or alternating diarrhea.

With media reports of an alarming increase in the detection of bed bugs, not just in upstanding hotels but also in department store dressing rooms and clothing sold on the rack, the likelihood of our exposure to this stealthful protozoa is high!

Bed bugs are nocturnal and their detection is very difficult because of their size and nocturnal habits. They and their eggs can be carried on clothing purchased at stores, from contamination of your suitcase and bags during a hotel stay and hitch a ride home to your house! Detection from bites is elusive because the bites can look like flea bites or small mosquito bites. However, they often form a short line of about 2 to 3 bites but can appear scattered on the body in clusters or alone. They are itchy and can become infected from scratching.

The greatest danger is a silent danger from the protozoa, Trypanosoma cruzi in the United States. It causes a disease called Chagas disease. However, in the acute phase of the disease, the symptoms are so varied and the severity from no to severe symptoms, it is rarely identified accurately initially. If one did have acute symptoms of fever, swollen lymph nodes, body aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, headaches, diarrhea and itchy skin rashes, the symptoms often resolved of their own accord in a few weeks.

The disappearance of acute symptoms can nonetheless continue to harbor active parasitic infection that can take 10-20 years to develop chronic and confusing symptoms that mimic other disorders such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and lyme disease which include, irregular heartbeats, palpitations, dizziness, cardiomyopathies, shortness of breath or ‘air-hunger’, slow gut motility, nausea, lack of appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain that is chronic, problems with swallowing, chronic swollen lymph nodes, constipation, or alternating diarrhea.

Since Trypanosoma is a parasite, the body develops chronic inflammatory markers in its attempt to fight off the parasite. Chronic inflammation can affect nerve tissue, heart tissue, and digestive tissue as a result. As you can see, this parasite can mimic the pathogens associated with lyme disease!

Anyone diagnosed with lyme disease or suffering from any of the above symptoms would be well advised to have a specific ELISA antibody titer done for Trypanosoma.

The best prevention is to avoid exposure. Clothing purchased at stores should be washed as soon as they are brought home to kill any eggs that could have attached to clothing either from a previous person trying them on or from contamination at the store. When traveling, there are now oversized plastic zip lock bags that one can seal a suitcase in while it is being stored in your hotel room to reduce the risk of a bed bug or two hitching a ride home in your suitcase to contaminate your home.

When checking into your hotel room and before sleeping in your bed. Turn down the sheets completely and inspect them for signs of bed bug droppings. You will see very tiny brown specs that look like specks of soil. Inspect the corners of the mattress as they like to hide in crevices until after dark. Prevention is your best plan of attack.

Should you receive bed bug bites, see an experienced health care practitioner for anti-microbial supplementation to ensure that you do not develop the chronic debilitating symptoms from this persistent Trypanosoma.

Please note:
Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

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Anna Manayan

Anna Manayan