Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Finding a tick on you is never a fun thing. But the sooner you get it off, the better.
There’s no immediate way to tell if the tick was infected or not. Even a blood test won’t show Lyme disease for two to six weeks after the bite.
However, there are some symptoms to watch for that happen as early as three days later, such as:
- Headache, muscle, and joint aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
Some people don’t have any of those symptoms, but they get a rash at the site of the bite. It has an official term: the erythema migrans rash.
This rash is seen in the majority of cases of tick-borne illness. It can take up to 30 days to show up, with the average initial visibility being about a week. People with this rash don’t always notice it because it doesn’t itch and isn’t painful. It can feel warm if you touch it, and it may gradually increase. It can show up anywhere on the body.
The EM rash is a classic sign of Lyme disease, so if you see it, you’ll want to go to the doctor for a diagnosis. Early involvement and fast treatment are key to preventing long term side effects of lyme disease.
How Ticks Infect People
Once a tick feeds on a Borrelia-infected host, it carries the bacteria in its belly . When the tick starts to feed, the bacteria migrate from the midgut to the salivary glands, where they can be injected into the new hosts bloodstream. Hence, the longer a tick feeds on you without detection, the higher the risk of contracting Lyme disease.
As shown in Illustration 2, a tick can become infected with Borrelia in two ways:
It is frequently stated that one is more likely to acquire the bacterium from an infected nymph than from an infected larva or adult. But this is due merely to circumstance rather than relative infectivity. The nymph is very small and hard to detect on even open skin let alone hard to see areas.
Feeding ticks secrete a local anaesthetic from their salivary glands, so that a host is less likely to notice that it has been bitten. This is why a thorough visual search for ticks at the end of a walk in the woods is so important.
Illustration 2: How Lyme Spreads
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What Is Brain Fog Exactly What Does It Feel Like What Can A Patient Do To Get Rid Of It
Writing a weekly blog post is a thrilling and rewarding process. I love connecting with readers like me over various aspects of living with tick-borne illness, and Im grateful to be able to share my story. Im also thankful to have the physical ability to write on a tight deadline, which I havent always been able to do. In my worst days of fighting Lyme disease and two of its co-infections babesia and Ehrlichia, I couldnt write at all. This was in part due to the achiness of my joints, but mostly, it was due to brain fog.
So what is brain fog, exactly? What does it feel like? What can a patient do to get rid of it? Now that I have greater neurological clarity, I can offer some information and tips on what Ive learned about this frustrating symptom.
What is brain fog?
Lyme is an inflammatory disease. When Lyme pathogens in the form of spirochetes cross the blood-brain barrier, inflammation occurs in the central nervous system. Common neurocognitive problems include poor memory, slower speed of thinking, difficulty with retrieval of words, and impaired fine motor control, writes Brian A. Fallon, MD and Jennifer Sotsky, MD, in their book Conquering Lyme Disease: Science Bridges the Great Divide. The slower mental processing speed contributes to the patients experience of brain fog,
What does brain fog feel like?
What I do about brain fog
Once Ive determined Im experiencing brain fog, heres what has helped the most to alleviate it:
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What Is Lyme Disease Anyway
A few decades ago, back in the 1970s, in a little town called Lyme, Connecticut, the first diagnosis of a disease caused after a person was bitten by a tick was revealed. The doctor who recognized and connected the two events was Willy Burgdorfer, so any microorganism that results in Lyme disease is known as a Borrelia burgdorferi.
Was that the very first time Lyme disease ever occurred? Likely not. There is documentation of people with similar symptoms in Europe that dates back to the early 1800s.
But it was the first time a tick bite and the resulting disease symptoms were connected, giving us the opportunity to explore the association further. Now, with over 60 years to work on a treatment, Lyme disease doesnt have to come with the fatal diagnosis it once had.
What Is Lyme Disease And How Is It Contracted
Lyme disease is an infectious disease that is caused by species of bacteria. Lyme disease is contracted when an infected tick bites you. The most common species of tick is a black-legged, or a deer tick. This tick bites you, and the bacteria that causes Lyme disease enters the bloodstream. You are most likely to be infected if you spend large amounts of time in grassy or weeded areas. It takes around 36 48 hours of the tick being attached to contract Lyme disease. The first symptoms can include many things, like a rash, fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, headache, neck stiffness, and swollen lymph nodes. If left untreated, Lyme disease can progress and include more severe symptoms, such as a rash that travels to other areas of your body, severe joint pain, and even neurological problems. If you experience a tick bite and start to notice symptoms, you should see a doctor. You can contact Health and Wellness of Carmel in Carmel, IN to learn more about how we can help you today.
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Routine Laboratory Parameters In Blood
In the routine laboratory, patients with Lyme neuroborreliosis have normal or slightly elevated values for ESR, CRP, leukocytes and transaminases that indicate a systemic infection ). When diagnosing Lyme neuroborreliosis, the routine laboratory results only play a role in differential diagnosis.
Routine lab parameters for patients with early or late manifestations of Lyme neuroborreliosis
What Are The Treatments For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. The earlier you are treated, the better it gives you the best chance of fully recovering quickly.
After treatment, some patients may still have pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that lasts more than 6 months. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome . Researchers dont know why some people have PTLDS. There is no proven treatment for PTLDS long-term antibiotics have not been shown to help. However, there are ways to help with the symptoms of PTLDS. If you have been treated for Lyme disease and still feel unwell, contact your health care provider about how to manage your symptoms. Most people do get better with time. But it can take several months before you feel all better.
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What Is Lyme Disease Brain Fog
Brain fog due to Lyme disease is complex, and it has to do with inflammation.
Lyme disease infections can inflame blood vessels in the brain, inflame nerve roots from the brain to the spinal cord, and erode the myelin sheath that protects nerves. It can disrupt thought processes, concentration, speech, and memory.
There are two kinds, Type 1 and Type 2 Brain Fog. You can have one or both categories at the same time.
Type 1 brain fog makes you feel like your brain is clouded or foggy. Its caused by a buildup of inflammatory chemicals, like cytokine, mold, yeast, and other toxins.
Type 2 brain fog is characterized by an inability to think temporarily: confusion, poor attention, short-term memory issues, and lack of organization.
A Lyme specialist can assess you for which type of brain fog you have and develop a treatment plan for fixing it. Fixing type 2 will also fix type 1.
To do this, you must decrease inflammation and take steps to eliminate infections. Both must be done with the help of a Lyme literate specialist. Together, you can implement a treatment plan that includes the right therapies, like the ones listed below.
Chronic Lyme Patients Embrace Alternative Treatments Rack Up Big Bills
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Crystal Pauley, a former physician assistant, didnt believe in so-called chronic Lyme disease until she became sick.
Many health care providers reject chronic Lyme disease as a diagnosis. One 2010 survey found that just six out of 285 primary care doctors surveyed in Connecticut an epicenter for the tick-borne infection believed that symptoms of Lyme disease persist after treatment or in the absence of a positive Lyme test.
When Pauley worked for the La Crosse, Wisconsin-based Gundersen Health System, she remembered hearing about a friend from high school battling chronic Lyme in Australia. But she had her doubts. Im working in the medical field, she said. Weve never learned about that.
Years later, Pauley has changed her mind. Pauley tested positive for Lyme in 2020. She suffers from unrelenting fatigue, joint pain and brain fog. She walks up stairs sideways because of the unbearable knee pain. Pauley said she has become pseudo-Lyme literate because of her own personal journey.
Their symptoms are always real. Theyre experiencing them, said Dr. Joyce Sanchez, an infectious-disease associate professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin who treats Lyme patients with persistent symptoms.
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Lyme Disease And Cognitive Impairment
For decades, those who have had Lyme disease frequently complain of cognitive impairment, even after treatment with antibiotics is concluded. How frequently? A study led by researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported that 92 percent of Lyme disease patients in the study reported experiencing cognitive issues.
All 124 patients had experienced either physical or mental post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome . Evidence from 26 percent of the patients showed significant cognitive decline in the areas of memory and cognitive processing speed.
The gap between the number of people reporting brain fog and the number of issues subjectively proven in tests led some researchers to think perhaps the issue was psychosomatic and related to depression or anxiety. Certainly, depression is an issue with Lyme disease, with as high as 45 percent of patients reporting feelings of depression in some studies, according to the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia University.
But new research shows that something else may be involved: brain inflammation.
Chronic Lyme Sufferers Feel ‘misunderstood And Not Heard’
Freeman said she was co-infected with Lyme and Rocky Mountain spotted fever in 2002 but never completely recovered and has not held a paid job in 20 years.
I have neurological problems. I have headaches, blurred vision, fatigue and ringing in my ears. I have that most of the time.
Are Lyme disease cases up or down on Cape? Pandemic undermines tick disease reporting.
Its frustrating, said Farrah Monahan, of Pocasset, an occupational therapist who suffered from heart palpitations, anxiety attacks and malaise for years before getting a diagnosis of Babesia duncani from her primary care physician and bartonella from a physician who treats tick-borne disease patients.
I dont understand why there isnt more formal education into all these microorganisms. We know they exist in animals and humans, Monahan said.
Its especially important to be aware of the risk here on Cape Cod, she said, calling the area tick central.
Aucott said that one of the lessons learned from Lyme disease sufferers is these patients are often misunderstood and not heard. It adds insult to injury. Were hoping the same thing doesnt happen with COVID long-haulers.
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Why Choose Hope Brain & Body Recovery Center For Treatment
When seeking treatment for neurological conditions, you shouldnt settle for anything but the most premium treatment. Dr. Joseph Schneider has over 30 years of clinical experience and has attended to over 11,000 patients with a wide array of neurological conditions.
Dr. Schneider has firsthand experience with neurological treatment, having suffered a stroke in 2017. Thanks to his incredibly talented associates and personal knowledge of treatment methods, has made a miraculous recovery. He has devoted his life to the neurological health of his patients and uses his firsthand experience of the recovery process to improve the treatment methods used at Hope Brain & Body Recovery Center.
Choosing Hope Brain & Body Recovery Center gives you access to some of the most modern technical treatment equipment available. We utilize a wide range of modern diagnostic equipment that helps our specialists build some of the most comprehensive neurological profiles for our patients. This means we are able to offer more accurate diagnoses, discover underlying conditions, as well as use the information to create therapy plans that are uniquely designed for each patient.
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Hope For Healing With Hbot
But Megan would not let her symptoms beat her. She began to research what Lyme disease sufferers were saying in online communities. One treatment that patients recommended was hyperbaric oxygen therapy . Megan kept the information in the back of her mind, but did not pursue her research.
Megan felt somewhat better after a year and was able to discontinue the IV antibiotics, but within a month she wound up in the intensive care unit, suffering from sepsis, pneumonia and kidney stones.
After her doctors patched her up, Megan began researching hyperbaric oxygen therapy again. She learned that to actually kill spirochetes , doctors need to deliver HBOT at very precise oxygen rates and atmospheric pressures. Armed with the information she needed, Megan started researching doctors, and eventually made her way to Dr. Allan Spiegels practice in Palm Harbor, Florida.
In the video below, you can hear Megan describe the difference that HBOT has made in her life. Toward the end, she gives her testimonial:
Since Ive been down here, Ive been able to run. Ive been able to hold my baby. Ive been able to dance with him I enjoy running and I havent been able to run or exercise like this in years. The pain has subsided, and a lot of the brain fog has gone away. My energy is there. I can do my dishes. I can take a shower without feeling like Im going to faint.
And thats ALL good news. Thanks, Megan!
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How Is Lyme Disease Spread
The most well known method is by ticks.
Various warm blooded mammals play host to the tick. Ticks feed by biting the skin and sucking blood from these animals such as mice, deer and more. In this way, some ticks get infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease before they attach themselves to humans who might be walking in long grass.
The bacterium is usually harmless to the animals but not to humans.
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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 dont 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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Lyme Symptoms I Still Experience
I never saw another doctor, though to this day I still experience Lyme disease symptoms.These run the gamut, including but not limited to numbness, pain, and tingling in my hands, legs, tongue, and joints instant fatigue when I exercise a lack of energy that glues me to the couch, blurry vision non-restorative sleep depression an irregular heartbeat and a nonexistent appetite . The two side effects that hit me the hardest, though, are these.
An inability to recall and articulate words. Brain fog is one of the most common neurological side effects of Lyme disease. You know that feeling of wondering which continent youre on after you wake up from too long of a nap? Okay, well thats what brain fog is like, except it never goes away.
I feel like I’ve lost IQ points. I cant speak fluent sentences anymore, and its frustrating as hell. Ten words are now used to describe what should be conveyed using two. I graduated from college with honors and a Bachelors degree in English. I literally studied the English language for four years, yet my lexicon has been chopped in halfall thanks to an infected tick bite.
A failure to recall and properly articulate words is especially rough as someone whose income relies on an ability to tell stories. On a brighter note, Im beyond grateful that I write for a living. Its always been my passion, in part because Im able to spend more time recalling and crafting sentences with words rather than struggling to verbally express myself.
Cause #: Untreated Infections
Lyme disease and Lyme coinfections like babesia, bartonella, and mycoplasmacontribute to metabolic and immune changes in the body because the microbes can be low-grade and persist for long periods of time. While no system of the body is off-limits, the central nervous system and the endocrine system are particularly vulnerable.
When pathogens invade the nervous system, white blood cells immune cells like lymphocytes and plasmocytes flood into the white matter of the brain and the spinal cord, says Dr. Bill Rawls, Medical Director of RawlsMD and Vital Plan. This causes a cascade of inflammatory immune messengers, called cytokines, in cerebrospinal fluid.
This influx of proinflammatory cytokines causes neuroinflammation in the brain, which can contribute to a range of neurological symptoms, including those associated with Lyme brain. Because most Lyme patients have a compromised immune system, the body struggles to keep the offending pathogens in check.
The outcome? You continue to experience a prolonged inflammatory response and resulting symptoms until youre able to suppress the harmful, stealth infections.
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