Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

Marla Ahlgrimm | Retired Pharmacist | Leading Expert in Women's Health

Marla Ahlgrimm | Q & A on Ticks and Lyme Disease

Marla AhlgrimmThere are hundreds of thousands of cases of Lyme disease reported each year. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, that number could be much higher as many people mistake its symptoms for other conditions. Here, the Wisconsin-based women’s healthcare expert and retired pharmacist answers a few common questions about ticks and Lyme disease.

Q: What are ticks?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Ticks are a small eight-legged insects found throughout the United States. The most dangerous are Brown deer ticks, which are about the size of a match head and inhabit wooded in grassy areas. Black-legged ticks are approximately the same size and are also known to transmit Lyme disease.

Q: How do ticks transmit Lyme disease?

Marla Ahlgrimm: The only way to transmit Lyme disease is through biting. Typically, ticks will attach to moist or hairy areas of the body and will latch on with tiny fang-like teeth. If removed immediately, there is likely no danger of Lyme disease. However, ticks remaining on the body for more than 36 hours may transfer the bacteria.

Q: Why is Lyme disease so difficult to diagnose?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Lyme disease has been dubbed “the great imitator” as symptoms throughout the disease closely mimic other issues. One telltale sign of Lyme disease is a bull’s-eye rash that surrounds the site of the bite. If this rash does not appear, the almost inevitable fever, muscle aches, fatigue, joint pain, and chills may lead to a flu diagnosis. As Lyme disease progresses, it can spread throughout the body and cause major damage, including chronic joint inflammation, cognitive defects, and heart rhythm irregularities.

Q: Is it possible to prevent contracting Lyme disease?

Marla Ahlgrimm: There is only one foolproof way to prevent the disease and that is to avoid being bitten. However, since outdoor time is important, always wear long sleeves, pants, and boots when hiking and check for ticks after being outdoors for any length of time.


Author: Marla Ahlgrimm

Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm revolutionized the field of women’s health in the 1970s and continues to do so today. After introducing the term “premenstrual syndrome” to the American public in the late 1970s, Marla Ahlgrimm has continued to focus her pharmacy practice over the years to successfully address hormone concerns that affect women as they age. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Marla Ahlgrimm co-founded Madison Pharmacy Associates, and it was there she fine tuned individualized care protocols and prescription medication to optimize a woman’s hormonal health. One of the first hormone issues that Marla tackled was Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS. At that time, there were no diagnosis or treatment options to address the severe symptoms that many women were reporting. As a result of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s intense attention to women’s health, Madison Pharmacy Associates gained a national reputation as an innovative practice. Founded in 1982, Madison Pharmacy Associates was the first pharmacy to special in women’s health in the nation. Thanks to the expertise of Marla Ahlgrimm, Madison Pharmacy Associates became known for the management of PMS. Over the years, Madison Pharmacy Associates evolved with Marla Ahlgrimm’s careful guidance, providing the national PMS Access newsletter, as well as a toll-free line where patients could obtain referrals to physicians who had the expertise to help them manage their symptoms. Marla Ahlgrimm founded Women’s Health America, Inc. in 1993 to help women by providing individualized hormonal medications to address the complex health issues of women and also to provide practical, helpful women’s health information. Over the years, Marla Ahlgrimm’s vision has grown to include Women’s Health America, Madison Pharmacy Associates, PMS Access and Cyclin Pharmaceuticals. In addition to her accomplishments with these landmark organizations, Marla Ahlgrimm is an author, having published two watershed books, The HRT Solution and Self-Help for Premenstrual Syndrome. Marla Ahlgrimm has also been published in numerous national publications, including serving as a columnist for The American Journal of Natural Medicine. Today, the primary work of Marla Ahlgrimm centers on natural hormone therapy, an important area for the large number of women who are menopausal and postmenopausal. Marla Ahlgrimm ’s work is unique because of her focus on individualized, natural hormone therapy options. According to pharmacist, Marla Ahlgrimm, many health issues facing women today are related to hormone changes. Using an individualized approach to therapy, she reports that many women feel reenergized for the first time in years. In addition to recognition in publications and journals, Marla Ahlgrimm has been recognized with a number awards over the span of her career. Some of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s most notable awards have been the YWCA’s acknowledgment of Marla Ahlgrimm as one of its Women of Distinction and recognition by her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, as one of its Distinguished Alumni. Above all of the awards and honors, Marla Ahlgrimm finds that helping so many women is the greatest accomplishment of all. In fact, says Marla Ahlgrimm, she still works with some of her very first patients and their doctors. These women once sought the help of Marla Ahlgrimm for PMS, she says, and today she is helping them manage symptoms of menopause and the years that follow.

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