What Is The Staging For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is categorized into three stages:
- Localized: Occurs within several days of the tick bite. Symptoms include redness and irritation at the site of the tick bite, along with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, and muscle aches.
- Disseminated: Occurs within weeks of a tick bite. If untreated, the infection spreads to other parts of the body and new symptoms occur.
- Persistent: Late infection, may occur within months to years after the initial tick bite. Arthritis and neurological symptoms are common in this stage.
Chronic Lyme Disease Symptom Severity
In LDos chronic Lyme disease survey, over 75% of patients reported at least one symptom as severe or very severe and 63% reported two or more such symptoms. Find out more about LDo peer-reviewed published surveys. The chart below shows the severity of ten common chronic Lyme symptoms.
The survey also found that patients with chronic Lyme disease have high disability and unemployment rates. Over 40% of patients with chronic Lyme disease reported that they currently are unable to work because of Lyme disease and 24% report that they have received disability at some point in their illness.
What Is The Prognosis Of Lyme Disease
The prognosis for patients with Lyme disease is generally excellent when they are treated early with appropriate antibiotic regimens. However, recurrent infection is possible if the patient is again bitten by an infected tick these infections are usually due to a different strain of the local Borrelia.
Patients, especially adults, who receive late treatment or initial treatment with antibiotics other than doxycycline or amoxicillin may develop chronic musculoskeletal symptoms and difficulties with memory, concentration, and fatigue. These symptoms can be debilitating and hard to eradicate.
Some patients develop chronic arthritis that is driven by immunopathogenic mechanisms and not active infection. This condition is more prevalent among individuals with HLA-DR2, HLA-DR3, or HLA-DR4 allotypes. The arthritis is resistant to antibiotic treatment but typically responds to symptomatic treatment and shows eventual resolution.
Cardiac involvement in Lyme disease is rarely chronic. However, patients with third-degree heart block often require a temporary pacemaker insertion and, on rare occasions, a permanent pacemaker insertion.
Extremely rare cases of neonatal death or stillbirth have been reported after pregnancies complicated by untreated or inadequately treated symptomatic maternal Lyme borreliosis. Subsequent findings from CDC studies suggest that congenital infection with B burgdorferi is unlikely and that it is not directly responsible for adverse fetal outcomes.
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Autoimmune Reaction In The Brain
Her various infections, including Lyme, have caused an autoimmune disease that causes her brain to attack her dopamine receptors. This has caused horrific OCD symptoms which would have caused her to end her life had we not found great relief with intravenous immunoglobulin treatments. . I left my engineering career to care for her in 2006, and I am still a major source of support for her.
We have spent several hundred thousand dollars out of our own pockets to try to get my daughter well. Our insurance company has spent more than that.
Things get slowly better, but she is still not self-supporting and we have concern for her future. We are very fortunate most people cannot afford the amount of treatment we have been able to give our daughter.
My daughters story is not the worst-case scenario. She now has a positive quality of life after years of that not being the case. Some people never get that far. This is what CAN happen if Lyme disease is not aggressively treated at the very beginning.
Everyone reacts to Lyme differently. Some people, even though extremely sick, respond well to standard ILADS treatment and soon put the disease behind them forever. Some people, like my daughter, just cant clear it, even after years of treatment.
What Can I Expect Long Term If My Child Has Lyme Disease
If Lyme disease is caught and treated early, most children will make a full recovery. Some children with Lyme disease go on to experience whats called a post-infectious syndrome with symptoms that may include feeling fatigue, joint aches and pains, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and problems concentrating. Since the infection itself is gone by this time, doctors generally dont prescribe antibiotics. Each child is different, but its not uncommon for symptoms of post-infectious syndrome to linger for months, or even years, and they can be made worse by stress or other illness. But most children do make a full recovery.
Blacklegged, or deer, ticks are very small, so it helps to know what to look for when doing a tick check. Adults are about the size of sesame seeds and in the nymph or larva stage, they can be as tiny as a poppy seeds.
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The Chance Of Getting Lyme Disease
Not all ticks in England carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
But it’s still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.
Ticks that may cause Lyme disease are found all over the UK, but high-risk places include grassy and wooded areas in southern and northern England and the Scottish Highlands.
Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures that live in woods, areas with long grass, and sometimes in urban parks and gardens. They’re found all over the UK.
Ticks do not jump or fly. They attach to the skin of animals or humans that brush past them.
Once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Symptoms can start anywhere from 3 to 30 days after the bite. They may look different depending on the stage of your infection. In some cases, you wonât notice any symptoms until months after the bite.
Early symptoms include:
All of those symptoms are also common in the flu. In most Lyme infections, one of the first symptoms youâll notice is a rash.
Without treatment, symptoms can get worse. They might include:
- Severe headache or neck stiffness
- Rashes on other areas of your body
- Arthritis with joint pain and swelling, particularly in your knees
- âDroopingâ on one or both sides of your face
- Inflammation in your brain and spinal cord
- Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in your hands or feet
What does the rash look like?
Some Lyme rashes look like a bull’s-eye with circles around the middle. But most are round, red, and at least 2 inches across.
The rash slowly gets bigger over several days. It can grow to about 12 inches across. It may feel warm to the touch, but itâs usually not itchy or painful. It can show up on any part of your body.
How small are ticks?
Ticks come in three sizes, depending on their life stage. They can be the size of a grain of sand, a poppy seed, or an apple seed.
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Early Localized Lyme Disease
During this stage, the infection has not yet spread to other parts of the body. Diagnosing Lyme disease during stage 1 gives you the best chances of a quicker recovery.
Early localized Lyme disease commonly begins with a rash called erythema migrans. This rash, which occurs in 70% to 80% of infected people, typically develops seven days after a bite but can occur within three to 30 days.
The rash grows slowly over several days and can be more than 12 inches in diameter. The rash may be warm to the touch but is not usually painful or itchy. Some people may develop the classic bulls eye rash, but the rash’s appearance can vary greatly.
The following symptoms may also be present with or without a rash:
- Joint or muscle pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
People treated during this stage often recover quickly and completely. Treatment involves 10 to 14 days of oral antibiotics.
Unfortunately, 10% to 25% of cases may go unnoticed and progress to later stages of the disease.
Home Remedies For Late Stage Lyme Disease
As a way of keeping Lyme disease in check, there are several home remedies you can embrace to improve your condition. However, you should not rely on home remedies alone to cure late stage Lyme disease, instead, it should supplement the antibiotic treatment. If you leave in an area infested with the carriers of the Lyme disease-causing bacteria, that is the black-legged or deer tick, you should be careful when you are outdoors. Some effective home remedies which ease the symptoms of Lyme disease include eating foods with nattokinase enzyme and Beta-glucan which stimulates the immune system, taking probiotics to counter the side effects of the prescribed antibiotics, and consuming an essiac herbal formula that consists of burdock root, sheep sorrel, slippery elm, and rhubarb. There are no studies that support that home remedies work effectively, so they should only be applied to improve the condition and not as a curative treatment.
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Signs Of Lyme Disease That Appear On Your Skin
Signs of Lyme disease
If you see a rash or another sign of Lyme disease on your skin, see your primary doctor right away. When caught early and treated, Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics and most people recover fully.
Lyme disease is caused by a bite from a black-legged tick. If you are bitten by this tick and develop Lyme disease, you may see a bulls-eye rash. Its a common sign of Lyme disease, but its not the only sign.
Lyme disease occurs in stages. Heres what you may see on your skin during each stage.
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How Do You Know If You Have Lyme Disease
Early symptoms of Lyme disease are a lot like the flu. You might experience body aches, fever, chills, and fatigue. Contrary to popular believe, Lyme disease does not always include a bulls-eye rash. This is one of the biggest reasons that people put off being tested for Lyme, choosing to just let the flu run its course. If diagnosis and treatment are delayed, chronic Lyme can be a very real threat. Chronic Lyme could mean a lifetime of treating symptoms, and result in a lengthy diagnosis process if you do not quickly seek the help of a Lyme specialized doctor. Lyme disease is diagnosed with a series of blood tests. If you have been outdoors in high tick season, and begin to feel flu-like symptoms, it is always best to go to the doctor to rule Lyme in or out as early as possible.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Lyme Disease Treatments
Antibiotics, like all medications, have the potential for side effects. Any antibiotic can cause skin rashes, and if an itchy red rash develops while on antibiotics, a patient should see their physician. Sometimes symptoms worsen for the first few days on an antibiotic. This is called a Herxheimer reaction and occurs when the antibiotics start to kill the bacteria. In the first 24 to 48 hours, dead bacterial products stimulate the immune system to release inflammatory cytokines and chemokines that can cause increased fever and achiness. This should be transient and last no more than a day or two after the initiation of antibiotics.
The most common side effect of the penicillin antibiotics is diarrhea, and occasionally even serious cases caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile. This bacterial overgrowth condition occurs because antibiotics kill the good bacteria in our gut. It can be helpful to use probiotics to restore the good bacteria and microbiome balance.
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
Lyme disease is usually diagnosed via a blood test called an ELISA, or an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, explains Dr. Ormond. It can detect antibodies to B. burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Less often, a doctor might test someones cerebrospinal fluid for antibodies via a lumbar puncture . This is usually done if a patient is experiencing symptoms that indicate their central nervous system has been affected, continues Dr. Ormond.
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The Lyme Disease Conundrum
Why is Lyme so hard to detect and recover from, even after antibiotics? Here are three main theories:
Problem 1: The Lyme bacterium is a survivor
Lyme bacteria knows how to stay alive inside its host. It suppresses the immune system, which allows it to survive and multiply. Lyme also seems to have the ability to cloak itself, making itself invisible to our immune system. In fact, Borrelia is so smart that some research suggests that when it senses its being attacked, it can go into a dormant state, allowing it to live and survive against the onslaught of antibiotics. Other studies suggest that Borrelia can actually mutate its own genes to make it resistant to antibiotics.
Problem 2: Diagnosis is tricky
Only about half of all Lyme patients actually remember getting a tick bite. Plus, the classic bulls-eye rash that people associate with Lyme may not appear in all cases, or may appear somewhere the victim never sees, such as on the scalp, hidden by hair. Some research suggests that conventional Lyme tests may not be sensitive enough to make an accurate diagnosis, especially during the later stages of disease. False-negative results are also common.
Problem 3: Conventional treatment may not be sufficient
What To Do When Serologic Testing Is Negative But Lyme Is Still Suspected
The problems with the conventional two-tier testing strategy for Lyme disease have initiated the development of new tests from independent labs intended to offer higher sensitivity and specificity.
As the first step in the diagnosis of Lyme, we often recommend serologic tests, including the ELISA, the Western Blot, and the Immunoblot. This new test is more sensitive than the Western Blot and is designed to take its place.38 Serologic Lyme tests can be done through Stony Brook University, Quest, LabCorp, or IGeneX.
If serologic tests come back negative and Lyme is still strongly suspected, we may recommend molecular testing such as the test offered by Global Lyme Diagnostics. The GLD tests antibodies to B. burgdorferi outer surface proteins, expanding the number of species and strains that can be detected.
We may also recommend Elispot T cell activation tests. These tests are run by labs such as InfectoLab and Armin Laboratories, and look at T cell activation for the pathogens. This may be a better indicator of current or recent infection and lead to a more accurate diagnosis.
However, it is important to remember that the testing for Lyme and other tickborne pathogens is still far from perfect, and we always focus on your individual case and symptoms. Lyme disease is primarily a clinical diagnosis and the tests are used as supportive aids.
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Get An Accurate Diagnosis
To get an accurate diagnosis, you must first find the right doctor specializing in Lyme disease. Do the research and look for a doctor who has extensive knowledge, licensure and certification, and a high success rate working with patients.
This doctor may not be in the United States. One of the most well-renowned infectious diseases clinics is Lyme Mexico.
You may be thinking you cant travel to Mexico for help, but you can. You can spend the same amount of time and money visiting multiple doctors near your home without results. Or, you can meet with a top expert in Lyme disease and receive the treatment that gives you back the life you deserve.
Lyme literate doctors have modern and more aggressive treatments to help heal your Lyme disease. Lyme specialists not only know about more aggressive treatments, but they also provide them in their clinics on an outpatient basis.
When Should You See A Doctor If You Think You Have Lyme
The rash is a pretty good indication that you may have been bitten. Take a photo of the rash and see your doctor. At this stage, treatment with antibiotics will probably work.
If you don’t have the rash but have symptoms like fatigue, fever, and headache but no respiratory symptoms like a cough, you may want to talk to your doctor.
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Learn The Stages Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease occurs in three stages: early localized, early disseminated and late disseminated. However the stages can overlap and not all patients go through all three. A bulls-eye rash is usually considered one of the first signs of infection, but many people develop a different kind of rash or none at all. In most cases, Lyme symptoms can start with a flu-like illness. If untreated, the symptoms can continue to worsen and turn into a long-lived debilitating illness.
Stage 1: Early Localized Disease
Symptoms with early localized Lyme disease may begin hours, a few days or even weeks after a tick bite. At this point, the
infection has not yet spread throughout the body. Lyme is the easiest to cure at this stage.
Symptoms may include:
Get started with your diary
Stage : Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
If stage 1 Lyme disease remains undiagnosed and untreated, it can progress to stage 2, or early disseminated, Lyme disease. This stage occurs 312 weeks after the initial tick bite.
The term disseminated indicates that the bacteria have spread throughout the body. At this stage, the infection may affect the following tissues:
- the skin
- nervous system
A person who has progressed to stage 2 Lyme disease may develop new symptoms alongside those from stage 1. These new symptoms may include:
- new rashes across the body
- conjunctivitis or vision problems
- poor memory and concentration
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