What Happens At Your Appointment
The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and there’s not always an obvious rash.
2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.
You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.
What You Can Learn From The Lyme Disease Association
The Lyme Disease Association is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping people learn more about the disease, as well as promote the responsible treatment of the condition.
One of the most informative things you can learn from the Lyme Disease Association is how to prevent contracting the disease. The information provided by the association gets into such helpful areas as what types of wooded areas to avoid and how to dress when you go camping or plan on being in the woods for a while. You can also read about how to periodically check for the presence of ticks while you are enjoying the great outdoors. The simple and practical tips that are provided are easy to follow and can help make spending time outdoors a little safer.
What Are Common Lyme Disease Flare
When the symptoms of Lyme disease return in a flare-up, they will be similar to those that appeared during the initial infection. In some cases, the symptoms can be worse. Some patients with chronic Lyme disease flare-ups may also experience new symptoms that werent present during the initial infection stage of the disease.
The many symptoms that occur during a Lyme disease flare-up can include:
- Mood changes, such as becoming more irritable or experiencing increased or new depression or anxiety
- Poor quality of sleep that results in daytime tiredness
- Issues with balance and dizziness
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Pain in the muscles that can be localized or across the entire body
- Vision issues, such as blurred vision
- Body pain that does not go away
Not everyone with a Lyme disease flare-up will experience all these symptoms, as each case is unique.
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How Do You Contract Lyme Disease
In order to develop Lyme disease, an infected tick must bite you. The bacteria enter your skin through the bite and eventually enter your bloodstream. In most cases, a deer tick must be attached to your skin for 36 to 48 hours to transmit Lyme disease.
The most common way to come into contact with chronic Lyme disease is to stay in the open forest, where deers are known to move freely. However, not going to the forest does not necessarily mean that you do not end up with chronic Lyme disease. It is also possible for ticks to bind to another host and eventually find their way into your home. This can happen in several ways.
Risk Factors For Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
Youre at risk for early disseminated Lyme disease if youve been bitten by an infected tick and remain untreated during stage 1 of Lyme disease.
Youre at an increased risk of contracting Lyme disease in the United States if you live in one of the areas where most Lyme disease infections are reported. They are:
- any of the Northeastern states from Maine to Virginia
- the north central states, with the highest incidence in Wisconsin and Minnesota
- parts of the West Coast, primarily northern California
Certain situations also can increase your risk of coming into contact with an infected tick, such as:
- gardening, hunting, hiking, or doing other outside activities in areas where Lyme disease is a potential threat
- walking or hiking in high grass or wooded areas
- having pets that may carry ticks into your home
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Youve Gotten A Positive Blood Test
The fourth and final point to determine if your symptoms are due to Lyme disease is to ask your healthcare provider to run a blood test. Although there are several different laboratory tests to diagnose Lyme disease, these tests each have their pros and cons, and can miss establishing the diagnosis because they are not sensitive enough to always pick up the presence of the bacteria.
A bullseye rash is a classic manifestation of Lyme disease, and does not require a positive blood test, but less than 50% of people may get the rash, and it may be located in a part of the body where the rash cannot easily be seen.
If you suffer from chronic unexplained symptoms, including fatigue and musculoskeletal pain, follow this four-step approach and ask your doctor for a professional opinion.
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Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection thats caused by a bite from a blacklegged tick.
Early disseminated Lyme disease is the phase of Lyme disease in which the bacteria that cause this condition have spread throughout the body. This stage can occur days, weeks, or even months after an infected tick bites you.
There are three stages of Lyme disease. Early disseminated Lyme disease is the second stage.
- Stage 1: Early localized Lyme disease. This occurs within several days of a tick bite. Symptoms may include redness at the site of the tick bite along with fever, chills, muscle aches, and skin irritation.
- Stage 2: Early disseminated Lyme disease. This occurs within weeks of a tick bite. The untreated infection begins spreading to other parts of the body, producing a variety of new symptoms.
- Stage 3: Late disseminated Lyme disease. This occurs months to years after an initial tick bite, when bacteria have spread to the rest of the body. During this stage, many people experience cycles of arthritis and joint pain along with neurological symptoms such as shooting pain, numbness in the extremities, and problems with short-term memory.
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Clinical Approach To Patients With A Chronic Lyme Disease Diagnosis
Even if CLD lacks biological legitimacy, its importance as a phenomenon can be monumental to the individual patient. This is because many if not most patients who believe they have this condition are suffering, in many cases for years. Many have undergone frustrating, expensive, and ultimately fruitless medical evaluations, and many have become quite disaffected with a medical system that has failed to provide answers, let alone relief.
Beyond this generalization, patients referred for CLD have heterogeneous medical, social, and educational backgrounds. Furthermore, there is great variation in their commitment to a CLD diagnosis. Some patients are entirely convinced they have CLD, they request specific types of therapy, and they are not interested in adjudicating the CLD diagnosis. By contrast, others are not particularly interested in CLD per se, and are content to move on to a broader evaluation. In the authors experience most patients fall somewhere in betweena certain amount of time must be spent reviewing past experiences and past laboratory tests, then explaining why Lyme disease may not account for their illnesses.
You Have A Fever And Chills But It’s Not The Flu Or Covid
Other common symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, chills, and body aches.
If that trio sounds familiar, it’s because the symptoms can appear after any infection, such as COVID-19 or the flu. You can get tested at a doctor’s office to rule out other illnesses, but antibodies for Lyme disease typically don’t show up on tests for weeks after infection, according to the CDC.
Fredericks recommended checking for the bull’s-eye rash to set early Lyme disease symptoms apart from something like the flu.
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What You Should Know About Lyme Disease Treatment
When it comes to Lyme disease treatment, there are several different ways to deal with the condition, based on how far along the disease has progressed. Here are a couple of facts about Lyme disease treatment to consider.
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One of the most basic forms of Lyme disease treatment is the use of antibiotics. In fact, this form of treatment for Lyme disease is very effective when the condition is diagnosed in its early stages. Generally, the antibiotics will not only address the bacteria that are the root cause of the condition but also help to alleviate the symptoms that are often associated with the early stages of Lyme disease, such as headaches, fever, and outbreaks of rashes around the site of the bite.
Outlook For Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
If you receive a diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics at this stage, you can expect to be cured of Lyme disease. Without treatment, complications can occur. Treatments are available for the complications.
In rare cases, you may experience a continuation of Lyme disease symptoms after antibiotic treatment. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome .
Some people who were treated for Lyme disease report muscle and joint pain, cognitive difficulties, sleep issues, or fatigue after their treatments were finished.
The cause of this is unknown. However, researchers believe it may be due to an autoimmune response in which your immune system attacks healthy tissues. It may also be linked to an ongoing infection with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
The practices below can reduce your likelihood of contracting Lyme disease and having it progress to the early disseminated stage.
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The Misdiagnosis Of Chronic Lyme Disease
Many patients referred for Lyme disease are ultimately found to have a rheumatologic or neurologic diagnosis. Rheumatologic diagnoses commonly misdiagnosed as Lyme disease include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, degenerative diseases of the spine, and spondyloarthropathies.,, Some patients are found to have neurologic diseases, including multiple sclerosis, demyelinating diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, neuropathies, and dementia. Some CLD advocates have argued that these various conditions are simply manifestations of Lyme disease,, but these hypotheses are untenable. Lyme disease is transmitted quite focally, and there is no epidemiologic evidence that these alternative diagnoses cluster in regions with high Lyme disease transmission. There has been no association between diagnoses such as multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis and antecedent Lyme disease, these diagnoses do not arise concurrently with other recognized manifestations of disseminated Lyme disease , and there is no quality evidence associating any of these diagnoses with seroconversion to B burgdorferi. Although there can certainly be clinical overlap between Lyme disease and other conditions, objective findings and studies will generally allow them to be differentiated.
Chronic Lyme Disease May Be A Misdiagnosis Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
A tick bite can cause treatable Lyme disease, while long-term symptoms may be due to chronic fatigue syndrome
Most people who think they have a long-lasting form of Lyme disease, triggered by a tick bite, may really have chronic fatigue syndrome, a panel of UK infectious disease experts said today.
Some people who mistakenly believe they have Lyme disease are endangering their health by taking long courses of antibiotics, leading to other infections such as sepsis, the doctors warned.
Lyme disease is a potentially serious infection that first came to attention in the 1970s, after an outbreak of cases in New England. It is caused by bacteria, passed on by bites from ticks, and often triggers a circular red rash initially.
Untreated Lyme disease can lead to a range of health problems, including joint pain, and heart damage. But if diagnosed in time, the infection can be quashed with a short course of antibiotics.
However, some people who have persistent symptoms believe they have a long-term infection, known as chronic Lyme disease, which needs treating with long courses of antibiotics or other alternative therapies such as supplements. This idea has spread from the US to the UK and some other countries.
CFS, also sometimes known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, is itself a controversial condition: some think it involves immune system problems, perhaps triggered by an infection, while others believe psychological factors may contribute.
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The Constant Tiredness That Comes With Lyme Disease
Im just so tired.
Youve heard us say it, if youre still listening, maybe hundreds of times. We say it with furrowed brow, slumped shoulders and shaking head as if, after all these years, were still bewildered by this level of fatigue.
It is confounding, after all this weariness. It doesnt feel like a part of us not a true part. Its an interloper posing as a piece of our original self an implant, installed into our being, not by an alien race, but by a tiny tick, or a flea, a mosquito where we get it is actually a matter of debate, even though you may have heard differently. But all we know, is that we are succumbing to the invader.
We cant help it.
This is not a fatigue that can be soothed by sleep or erased by caffeine. It cannot be swayed by a brisk walk in fresh air. This lassitude is as thick as tar, coating our limbs, drip, drip, dripping into our brains, sucking at our feet, pulling them toward the ground like weve been given a super dose of gravity.
We have lost seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks of our lives to sleep, to heads full of fog. And still, we are tired and sleepy. We have fallen asleep on the job, in our kitchens with our heads on the hard, cold countertop, in the middle of conversations, in parking lots, or at the side of the road between errands. But oddly, not in our beds at night. We have only quantity, not quality.
We want you to know that when we say, I am so tired, you would be wise to translate that as, I am so sick.
When To Be Careful With Using Antibiotics
Care should be taken in the administration of antibiotics as Lyme disease treatment. It is all too possible that in some cases, the particular antibiotics may cause more harm to the overall health than good. This is especially true if the person with Lyme disease is pregnant. Taking care to use antibiotics that will not interfere with the pregnancy or interact with any prenatal medication is absolutely essential.
In addition to pregnancy, cardiovascular conditions should also be kept in mind when embarking on Lyme disease treatment. Since one of the possible symptoms of Lyme disease is a change in the natural rhythm of the heartbeat, it is important to make sure there is no permanent condition that may complicate the treatment. Once the presence or absence of heart disease is confirmed, it is easier for the physician to prescribe the right types of antibiotics.
While the use of antibiotics is the best type of Lyme disease treatment, care must be taken to administer the right kinds of antibiotics. By knowing the overall health condition of the person who has contracted Lyme disease, it is possible to prescribe the right antibiotics, effectively treating the disease without causing any additional physical harm.
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How Do You Get Lyme Disease
In the U.S., Lyme disease is carried primarily by deer or blacklegged ticks, and it is caused by the Borrelia mayonii and Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Its easy to be bitten by ticks in high-risk areas such as Central PA. The creatures are often no bigger than a poppy seed, so they are very difficult to see before they latch on.
However, not all ticks are Lyme disease carriers. To contract the disease, an infected tick needs to bite you. Bacteria from the tick will eventually make its way from the bite through to your bloodstream, usually taking between 36 to 48 hours. For this reason, whenever youve been in the outdoors, particularly in a known tick-heavy area, you should always check your body for parasites before you come back inside.
In the two primary stages of life, U.S. deer ticks feed on rodents, which are a prime source of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Ticks move onto feeding primarily on white-tailed deer when they reach adulthood.
If you find a swollen tick attached to you, it could have fed for long enough to transmit bacteria and should be removed with tick tweezers as soon as possible to prevent infection.
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Sensitivities To Light And Sound
One of the pioneers in Lyme disease research is Joseph J. Burrascano Jr., MD. In the early days of the disease, he came up with a checklist that doctors could use to diagnose itand it includes all of the above signs, as well as other previously observed symptoms like sensitivities to light and sound, muscle weakness, erectile dysfunction, and dental pain.
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The Effects Of Lyme Disease On Your Sleep
Most people who have Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases feel constantly exhausted and fatigued. Its a bit like having chronic flu. Even if you have been accurately diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease, you still may struggle against severe fatigue. The reason is that your body is working hard to fight the infection and is often burdened by an accumulation of toxins.
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And enough good quality sleep is highly essential for the recovery process. Unfortunately, most people do not know that Lyme disease damages their mitochondria and that the repair only takes place in deep sleep. Sleep is, therefore, one of the most crucial factors in the treatment of Lyme disease.
The Chronic Lyme Disease Controversy
Chronic Lyme disease is a poorly defined term that describes the attribution of various atypical syndromes to protracted Borrelia burgdorferi infection. These syndromes are atypical for Lyme disease in their lack of the objective clinical abnormalities that are well-recognized in Lyme disease and, in many cases, the absence of serologic evidence of Lyme disease as well as the absence of plausible exposure to the infection. The syndromes usually diagnosed as CLD include chronic pain, fatigue, neurocognitive, and behavioral symptoms, as well as various alternative medical diagnosesmost commonly neurologic and rheumatologic diseases. Perhaps the most recognized and contentious facet of this debate is whether it is effective, appropriate, or even acceptable to treat patients with protracted antibiotic courses based on a clinical diagnosis of CLD.
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