Erlichiosis (Tick disease and Diabetes)

Hi everyone! I am new to this wonderful site. I just found it today. I have a large group of family and friends that I have always relied on to support me over the years. I guess now I have some questions and am hoping someone in this community might be sharing a similar experience. That is, I am a type 1 diabetic and I recently found out that I also have Erlichiosis. Sounds terrible but it is a tick disease like lymes but a different bacteria and I was wondering two things. 1. Has anyone else delt with this ( joint pain, inflammation ) and 2. if so, did anyone else have trouble taking anti-biotics in regards to very high blood sugars? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. My endo and infectious disease docs are stumped.

colef, welcome to the TuD family! Glad you found us.

Sorry about the Erlichiosis, what a pain. Some people do run high BG from some antibiotics, I'm sure someone who knows more will reply.

Wow. That really sucks! I am so sorry. But I am glad you are being treated. Tick diseases are some of the most frightening, I think..

I had a rash associated with a tick bite about a year ago- we do not have Lyme's disease in Eastern TN- but we have a similar disease known as Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI). The doc had not heard of STARI, but actually took notes so he could find out more about it later as he had seen several cases resembling Lyme, but the individuals hadn't been outside of the area..

ANYWAY... sorry for the ramble. He finally gave me doxycycline, and the rash started clearing up within a few days. Did they put you on doxycycline?

I was not a T1 diabetic then (that I know of!).. so I can't answer the sugar question. But I had a lot of nausea and dizziness while on the medication, and a few episodes of tunnel vision. It's such a nasty drug, imo.

There were a few things that popped up when I googled doxycycline and diabetes... but I'm sure you've probably researched it already!

My BG does tend to spike high when I am on antibiotics. It is managable but it will go up. The amount of the spike is not the same fro each antibiotic. Amoxicillin doesn't really bother me at all but there are others that can put me over 200 quickly. I just test more often and raise the insulin a little and live bing a little high until O am done with the meds.

Joint pain and bursitis are common in diabetics anyway. It is hard to know what is actually the cause, I have 2 frozen shoulders that I am trying to free up. I am going to pt once a week. I never considered a tickborne illness but hey I've been bitten by many ticks as I live in an area where they are everywhere,

As far as antibiotics, I can handle any penicillin derivatives, but CIPRO sent my sugars higher but not crazy high, a few years back when I had a persistent cough.

I switched to something else and it was fine. Any kind of steroids that you may be taking for your joint pain can cause this too, I had an injection into my shoulder a few months ago, and the doc told me it wont effect my sugar because it will stay in the shoulder and not come out. He was wrong of course my sugars soared, but another doc gave me a formula to correct for the steroid injections, and each day reduced until I was back to normal.

It is strange you bring up Cipro. You are not the only diabetic who has made that comment about elevated blood sugars. For the erlichiosis the doc gave me doxycycline and then levaquin. Both raised my sugars to the mid 300s and took days to get back to normal. So at this point the tick thing will probably have to go untreated.

I'm sorry to hear about the frozen shoulders. My right shooulder has been a bit messed up from the same thing for quite a few years. I tried pt and cortisone shots but I never found permanent relief. I hope your pt is more effective.
Good luck! If you think of it at the end of your pt, let me know how you're doing.

Wow Palominovet! Your doc didn't even know about STARI? I had to go to an infectious disease doc to get treatment but I'm not so sure he is aware of how to treat diabetics. He gave me doxy first and that is a crazy drug.

Are you now or did you ever have any problems as a result of the STARI?

Hi Colef,

I'm glad that you posted! And I'm concerned about you! Lyme Disease is rare in Tennessee, but not unheard of according to the US Centers for Disease Control.

Here are the statistics by state for you and for anyone else interested.

CDC statistics

And experts feel that the disease is greatly underdiagnosed.

Lyme Disease, especially if not treated quickly and effectively can be a very serious chronic disease. It's really not my goal to be negative or scare you, it's just that I know people with chronic Lyme who have been very, very sick. My sister has had it twice. A neighbor had Lyme and erlichiosis together. Please consider talking with your infectious disease docs again and doing whatever you need to do to be sure you are diagnosed and treated correctly.

Again, not wishing to be negative, just want you to be healthy and happy!

Best wishes,


Thanks Marty 1492,

When I was first diagnosed with Erlichiosis my doctor reported it to the state. I did receive a call from the state health department and it turns out that in New Jersey where I live I am one of only 9 cases reported in the past 12 months. Then I think...if I am one of 9, I wonder what the incident rate of type1 diabetics who get erlichiosis?? Probably not many, and probably not a lot of research out there either. I can't find anything that directly relates.

Just so you know, I don't know how long I've had it. I never presented with a rash or the typical onset symptoms that I can recall (persistant fever, vomiting)so I am out of the immidiate danger time. Long term effects?? That I guess I am waiting to see.

I find it most annoying though that I can't seem to get the Infectious Disease doc to work with my endo so that I can get treated.

Thanks to you and the others for all your responses!

Marty- Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi and has not been found in the tick vectors in east TN. People dx’d with Lyme (confirmed with testing) here have history of travel to areas that have Lyme endemic. STARI is thought to be caused by similar organism… same genus, Borrelia.

Thanks. :slight_smile:

Colef… I’m fine. I caught it like two days after the tick bite. I’m probably a paranoid vet student because I swear I think we discussed tick borne diseases in at least three different courses!