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.
Determining The Source Of Your Symptoms
Again, its important to note that symptoms of tick-borne diseases in humans can vary greatly from person to person and can change over time if diseases are not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner.
The presence of any one of the symptoms above does not alone guarantee that you have a tick-borne disease, but if you do experience them alongside any other potential symptoms, its important to talk to a trusted doctor and get tested immediately.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can affect different body systems, such as the nervous system, joints, skin, and heart. The symptoms of Lyme disease are often described as happening in three stages. Not everyone with Lyme has all of these, though:
The rash sometimes has a “bull’s-eye” appearance, with a central red spot surrounded by clear skin that is ringed by an expanding red rash. It also can appear as an growing ring of solid redness. It’s usually flat and painless, but sometimes can be warm to the touch, itchy, scaly, burning, or prickling. The rash may look and feel very different from one person to the next. It can be harder to see on people with darker skin tones, where it can look like a bruise. It gets bigger for a few days to weeks, then goes away on its own. A person also may have flu-like symptoms such as fever, tiredness, headache, and muscle aches.
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Confirming Lyme Disease In The Age Of Covid
The current COVID-19 pandemic is posing a new challenge in the diagnosis of Lyme disease. The two conditions have a lot of overlapping symptoms, such as fever, malaise, generalized pain and lack of energy. During these times, its advisable to rule out COVID-19 first before embarking on any other test.
Asking focused questions about personal lifestyle may help guiding the diagnosis of Lyme disease. Some key questions include:
- Any outdoor activities in areas already identified as having high prevalence of ticks?
- Any recollection of tick bites or removal of ticks from the body?
- Any skin rashes? ,
- Do you live in an endemic region for Lyme disease? If youre not sure, you can check public health websites. Knowing if one lives in an endemic region for Lyme disease is essential, as these recommendations should be encouraged in all emergency departments and family doctors offices in areas of high prevalence.
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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When To Call Your Doctor
Erythema migrans is a hallmark symptom of Lyme disease. If you think you might have been bitten by a tick and youve developed a circular rash, call your doctor as soon as possible. Medical attention is particularly important if you have other symptoms of early-stage Lyme disease, which are usually flu-like.
If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause:
- joint inflammation and pain
- facial palsy
- short-term memory loss
If treated early, Lyme disease can almost always be cured. Call your doctor as soon as you see erythema migrans.
Lyme Disease Triggers Vertigo And Hearing Loss
Vertigo and hearing loss have been reported in several studies as symptoms of Lyme disease. One study found 4 out of 27 patients with neurologic Lyme disease experienced hearing loss.¹ Vertigo was reported in 5 out of 8 Lyme disease patients by Selmani et al.² Additionally, investigators suggest that vertigo can be the predominant symptom in patients with confirmed Lyme disease — its symptoms resembling neuronitis vestibularis in the acute stage.³
A recently published study by Sowula and colleagues provides further evidence that Lyme disease can trigger vertigo and hearing loss. In their article Vertigo as one of the symptoms of Lyme disease, the authors examine the frequency of vertigo symptoms and potential labyrinth damage in patients with diagnosed Lyme disease.4
The study included 38 patients with Lyme disease, who were hospitalized at University Hospital in Krakow, Poland, between 2018 and 2019, due to vertigo or dizziness.
One alleged group of diseases which can trigger vertigo involves infectious diseases of the nervous system, the authors explain.
Many pathogens are said to be in part responsible for inflammation among them are spirochetes of Borrelia as well as other pathogens transmitted by ticks.
The study found:
Increasingly, tick-borne illnesses are a potential cause of neurological symptoms reported by patients, including hearing loss, tinnitus, ataxia and vertigo.
The authors conclude:
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Joyce Knestrick Phd Crnp Faanp
Summer is the season to head outdoors, but the looming threat of tick bites has many uneasy about a hike in the woods, with good reason. We are right smack in the middle of peak season for ticks, which means the chance of contracting Lyme disease from a single tick bite is relatively high, especially in the Northeast and Midwest, where 70 percent of the ballooning deer tick population is infected with the health-compromising disease.
Lyme disease is scary in part because the signs can be easy to miss, and undetected cases can progress from treatable to chronic without a patient ever seeing a tick. People on the lookout for the tell-tale bullseye to necessitate a trip to their health care provider may miss the critical treatment window. The reality is that 30 percent of people with Lyme disease never get that bullseye, and because the rash can move locations and is usually not itchy or painful, some people who have a skin reaction never notice it.
So how can you enjoy the outdoors with your family this summer and still avoid Lyme disease? Tick vigilance is a great first step long sleeves and pants, insect repellent containing DEET and Permethrin for clothes and shoes will go a long way in warding off these pesky parasites. Still, there is always a risk of picking up a tiny hitchhiker when you head outside, so its important to understand the symptoms of an infected bite.
What Is Neurologic Lyme Disease
Neurologic symptoms of Lyme disease occur when the Lyme disease bacteria affect the peripheral or central nervous systems.
- Cranial nerve involvement: When the cranial nerves are affected, facial palsy can occur on one or both sides of the face.
- Peripheral nerve involvement: When the peripheral nerves are affected, patients can develop radiculoneuropathy which can cause numbness, tingling, shooting pain, or weakness in the arms or legs.
- Central nervous system involvement: When the central nervous system is affected, Lyme meningitis can cause fever, headache, sensitivity to light, and stiff neck.
Out of every 100 patients whose cases are reported to CDC, 9 have facial palsy, 4 have radiculopathy, and 3 have meningitis or encephalitis. Because of reporting practices, this statistic may overestimate how often these manifestations are seen by clinicians.
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How Is Morphea Diagnosed
If you have unexplained hard or discolored patches of skin, your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist or a rheumatologist .
Your doctor is likely to ask you questions about your symptoms, such as when you first started noticing changes in your skin, if youve done anything to treat yourself, and if you have any other symptoms. Theyll ask for a family health history and about any recent illnesses youve had and any medications youre taking.
There is no test for diagnosing morphea. Your doctor will examine your skin and, though not usually necessary, might take a small sample to have analyzed by a lab. This is called a skin biopsy.
They may also order some tests to help distinguish morphea from something called systemic scleroderma. This type of scleroderma is similar to morphea at first. But it can later affect internal organs and requires more aggressive treatment.
Morphea with deep lesions, lesions on your face or neck, or widespread lesions can lead to:
- restricted joint mobility
- permanent eye damage in children
- hair loss
Often people with morphea also have genital lichen sclerosis, which can cause itching and burning and changes to your skin. Its important to tell your doctor about these symptoms if you have morphea.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Early symptoms of Lyme disease start between 3 to 30 days after an infected tick bites you. The symptoms can include:
- A red rash called erythema migrans . Most people with Lyme disease get this rash. It gets bigger over several days and may feel warm. It is usually not painful or itchy. As it starts to get better, parts of it may fade. Sometimes this makes the rash look like a “bull’s-eye.”
- Muscle and joint aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
If the infection is not treated, it can spread to your joints, heart, and nervous system. The symptoms may include:
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Additional EM rashes on other areas of your body
- Facial palsy, which is a weakness in your facial muscles. It can cause drooping on one or both sides of your face.
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, especially in your knees and other large joints
- Pain that comes and goes in your tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- Heart palpitations, which are feelings that your heart is skipping a beat, fluttering, pounding, or beating too hard or too fast
- Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
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A Far More Common Cause Of Vertigo
It is a fairly rare occurrence when Lyme disease is actually the underlying factor in vertigo incidence. A far more common problem that leads to vertigo is a misalignment in the C1 and C2 vertebrae. This type of misalignment can affect blood flow to the brain and ears and lead to vestibular problems either of a peripheral or central nature.
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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How Does Lyme Affect The Nervous System
Borrelia, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease, can invade the nervous system, creating a condition called Lyme neuroborreliosis.
In the central nervous system, the infection can cause meningitis , and damage various nerves in the brain or brainstem. In the peripheral nervous system, the infection can result in pain that radiates along sensory nerves.
The exact reasons why some patients get better with treatment and other patients remain ill is unclear. The potential mechanisms may include permanent damage from infection, neuroinflammation, autoimmune reactions, or persistent infection.
As Professor Holly Ahern explains, the main problem with research into so-called PTLDS is the absence of an accurate blood test or biomarker. Researchers have no way to determine if persisting infection is the cause of the continuing symptoms.
Dr. Novak and his team set out to find objective measures. We know these patients are suffering. The next question is how do we treat them? says Novak.
The most valuable studies are those that give us a biomarker, something we can measure, so that when we treat them, we can look objectively to see if they get better or not.
Neurological Symptoms From Late
If Lyme disease or associated infections are not adequately treated or go untreated, the persistence of the bacteria, and the inflammation from the immune response, can affect nerve function leading to a myriad of neurological symptoms. One study indicated it took an average of a year and a half following a tick bite for symptoms to manifest in the peripheral nervous system and two years to the onset of symptoms in the central nervous system . The significant length of time from bacterial exposure to onset of symptoms creates a challenge in associating Lyme disease as the cause of chronic neurological symptoms.
Neuropathy is a general term for disease of the nerves.
Polyneuropathy refers to multiple nerves involved in the pathology. In late-stage Lyme disease, polyneuropathy typically manifests as numbness, tingling or burning and can include any nerve but most commonly begins in the hands/arms and feet/legs. Less frequently, chronic neuropathy can lead to radicular pain.
Encephalopathy refers to generalized brain dysfunction
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How Does Lyme Disease Affect Vision
In the early stages, visual symptoms can include: blur, visual fatigue, double vision, headaches associated with visual activities, losing place when reading, seeing words appear to double or become double when reading, and more obscure problems often not associated with vision such as difficulty with balance, spatial orientation, memory, comprehension, feeling of being over-whelmed by being in a busy-crowded environment with movement of people and objects, sensitivity to sound, to name several.2
In later stages of the disease, inflammation of the eye may develop. Parts of the eye that may be affected include the uvea, the middle layer inside the eye, the cornea, part of the outer coat of the eye the iris, the colored circle around the pupil, and the choroid, a layer of blood vessels in the eye. Ocular symptoms can include sensitivity to light and floaters .3
Research also shows that when the visual process is compromised by tick-borne disease the person will develop compensatory habits in order to attempt to function with their compromised vision. This can put strain on the body that will lead to fatigue, discomfort and compromise of higher visual-perceptual processing associated with memory and cognitive function.
What Are The Stages Of Lyme Infection
There are three stages:
- Early localized Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and a rash that looks like a bull’s-eye or is round and red and at least 2 inches long
- Early disseminated Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like pain, weakness, or numbness in your arms and legs, changes in your vision, heart palpitations and chest pain, a rash , and a type of facial paralysis known as Bellâs palsy
- Late disseminated Lyme: This can happen weeks, months, or years after the tick bite. Symptoms might include arthritis, severe fatigue and headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and confusion.
About 10% of people treated for Lyme infection donât shake the disease. They may go on to have three core symptoms: joint or muscle pain, fatigue, and short-term memory loss or confusion. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. It can be hard to diagnose because it has the same symptoms as other diseases. Plus, there isn’t a blood test to confirm it.
Experts arenât sure why Lyme symptoms donât always go away. One theory is that your body keeps fighting the infection even after the bacteria are gone, like an autoimmune disorder.
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