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Can Lyme Disease Cause Leg Weakness

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Neurological Symptoms From Late

Ticks can cause Lyme disease and tick paralysis – Lance Owens, DO

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

How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed

As the symptoms and signs of Lyme disease are similar to those found in other conditions and are nonspecific, diagnosis is not easy. In addition to this, the ticks that spread the disease can also transmit other diseases at the same time.

Diagnosis is easier when your doctor can see that you have the characteristic bulls eye rash. However, if you dont, your doctor will ask you about your medical history, whether youve been outdoors in summertime, where you have been outdoors and will give you a medical examination.

Lab tests enable bacteria antibodies to be detected in order to confirm a diagnosis. They are most reliable when youve had the infection for a few weeks, as your body will then have had the time to develop the antibodies.

Tests for Lyme disease include:

  • Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test. This is the test most commonly used to diagnose Lyme disease, and it detects antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Sometimes the test brings up a false-positive so its not typically used as the sole test for diagnosis.

Although the test may not show as a positive result during the first stage of Lyme disease, often the accompanying rash is distinctive enough to make the diagnosis, especially if youve been in an area where Lyme disease-transmitting ticks are common.

  • Western blot test. If the initial ELISA test comes back positive, the Western blot test will confirm your diagnosis.

You’ve 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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You Have More Than One Symptom

Lyme disease is a multisystemic illness. That means that people dont usually complain of just one symptom, but instead notice a cluster of symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain with palpitations
  • Psychiatric symptoms such as depression and anxiety

Others may also complain of day sweats, night sweats and chills, as well as shortness of breath, with an unexplained cough if they have contracted babesiosis. A different tick-borne infection than Lyme disease, babesiosis can be transmitted with the same tick bite. It’s a malaria-type parasite which makes people much sicker and difficult to treat with resistant symptoms.

Spinal Cord Disease Or Injury

Interior Health Warns Residents about Ticks

The spinal cord powers the body and controls sensation. The spinal cord is safely protected by the backbone . If the spinal cord is damaged in any way, leg weakness can result.

Conditions and illnesses that can damage the spinal cord include a fracture of the backbone, a herniated disc, cancer spreading to the spine or to the spinal cord, infection of the spine or the spinal cord and multiple sclerosis.

A fairly uncommon type of stroke, a spinal cord infarct, affects the spine rather than the brain. A spinal cord infarct is caused by bleeding near the spine or a blood clot of the spinal arteries .

These conditions that affect the spine are all emergencies that require prompt medical care to prevent permanent spine damage and leg weakness. The treatment for spinal cord disease or injury varies tremendously, depending on the cause.

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What’s The Best Way To Prevent A Tick Bite

Ticks can’t fly or jump. But they live in shrubs and bushes and can grab onto you when you pass by. To avoid getting bitten:

  • Wear pants and socks in areas with lots of trees and when you touch fallen leaves.
  • Wear a tick repellent on your skin and clothing that has DEET, lemon oil, or eucalyptus.
  • For even more protection, use the chemical permethrin on clothing and camping gear.
  • Shower within 2 hours after coming inside. Look for ticks on your skin, and wash ticks out of your hair.
  • Put your clothing and any exposed gear into a hot dryer to kill whatever pests might be on them.

How do you know if you’ve been bitten?

Since ticks are so small, you’ve got to have pretty good eyes to see them.

If you have a small, red bump on your skin that looks like a mosquito bite, it could be a tick bite. If it goes away in a few days, itâs not a problem. Remember, a tick bite doesnât necessarily mean you have Lyme disease.

If you notice a rash in the shape of a bull’s-eye, you might have a tick bite. Talk to your doctor about treatment.

If you have an allergic reaction to ticks, you’ll notice a bite right away.

What Are The Second Stage Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

The symptoms of second stage, early disseminated, Lyme disease can be difficult to attribute. Symptoms include severe fatigue, fever, pain, intermittent weakness and achiness of the muscles and joints, numbness in arms and legs, vision changes, and cognitive dysfunction such as short-term memory difficulties and problems multitasking. These symptoms are not specific for Lyme disease and can make the diagnosis of second stage Lyme disease very challenging.

More recognizable Lyme disease nervous system manifestations include facial paralysis , or meningitis with severe headache and stiff neck. Notable cardiac manifestations include passing out or feeling faint from an abnormally slow heart rate, irregular heart palpitations, or unexplained difficulty tolerating exercise. Meningitis and carditis are both potentially serious Lyme disease conditions and warrant immediate medical attention.

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How Does Lyme Disease Cause Lameness In Dogs

Many dogs who develop Lyme disease have periodic lameness because their joints are inflamed. Sometimes the lameness lasts for only 3-4 days but recurs days to weeks later, either in the same leg or other legs. This is known as shifting-leg lameness. One or more joints may be swollen, warm, and painful.

Symptoms Of Dog Limping

Lyme Disease, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, DIagnosis and Treatment.

First, it needs to be well-noted that limping or lameness is not a diagnosis per se. Limping is a symptom that develops due to an underlying issue.

Lameness or limping indicates an abnormal walk or gait that develops when the dog cannot put its weight on all limbs. The dog favors one leg as a result of pain or loss of function.

The dogs leg consists of bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, joints, nerves, and blood vessels. Each of these structures can be damaged and act as a source of discomfort.

A limping dog can also exhibit other symptoms. Knowing them is beneficial in terms of determining the underlying cause. These are some of the symptoms frequently accompanied by limping:

  • Reluctance to play and exercise
  • Difficulty standing up or laying down
  • Difficulty jumping on/off couches/cars
  • Weak or numb foot or leg
  • Swelling, wounds or bruises
  • Fever, vomiting, disorientation, lethargy, and trouble breathing .

Finally, based on what causes the limping, it can be subtle or intense and it can affect one or more limbs.

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How Can I Help My Limping Dog

The best thing you can do for your limping dog is to have him checked by a veterinarian in your area. Once the Dr. determines the underlying cause, you need to follow his/her instructions carefully using pain medication , apply heating/pads or ice packs, practice cage rest, walking exclusively on a leash, or maybe going to physical therapy.

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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Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

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Lyme disease is an underreported, under-researched, and often debilitating disease transmitted by spirochete bacteria. The spiral-shaped bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, are transmitted by blacklegged deer ticks. Lymes wide range of symptoms mimic those of many other ailments, making it difficult to diagnose .

The blacklegged ticks can also transmit other disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These are known as coinfections . These ticks that transmit Lyme are increasing their geographical spread. As of 2016, they were found in about half the counties in 43 of 50 states in the United States .

Lyme is the fifth most reported of notifiable diseases in the United States, with an estimated 329,000 new cases found annually . Some studies estimate that there are as many as 1 million cases of Lyme in the United States every year .

Most people with Lyme who are treated right away with three weeks of antibiotics have a good prognosis.

But if youre not treated for weeks, months, or even years after infection, Lyme becomes more difficult to treat. Within days of the bite, the bacteria can move to your central nervous system, muscles and joints, eyes, and heart .

Here is a list of 13 common signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.

What Disease Causes Dogs To Limp

Signs and Symptoms of Stages of Lyme Disease

Injury to the foot (such as wounds, lacerations or foreign bodies. Injuries or diseases of pads or nails. Primary bone diseases such as fractures, tumors and inflammatory conditions such as panosteitis. Joint diseases associated with degenerative conditions, inflamatory or infectious conditions or congenital diseases.

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Lyme Disease Bells Palsy And Facial Paralysis: What Is The Best Treatment Option

There may be times when Lyme disease occurs due to a bacterial infection that can be treated with antibiotics. Or, there may be instances when other treatment options are required to address a patients symptoms. Regardless, testing is necessary to ensure a patient can receive an accurate Lyme disease diagnosis. From here, a doctor can identify a safe, effective treatment designed to deliver long-lasting symptomatic relief.

Appropriate treatment forLyme disease Bells palsyor other facial palsy symptoms is crucial. Inone study, researchers found patients dealing with Lyme disease-related facial palsy faced a higher risk of severe long-term outcomes when treated using the same regimen as Bells palsy patients.

Those who experience facial paralysis symptoms should consult with a doctor immediately. At this time, a doctor can determine if these symptoms are related to facial paralysis. The doctor also can find out if a patient is coping with Bells palsy or facial palsy and treat the condition accordingly.

Chronic Fatigue In Lyme Disease

Fatigue is one of the most common and debilitating symptoms associated with Lyme disease and associated infections. The fatigue can either be persistent and low-grade or can be cyclical with other symptoms related to the infections. For some suffering with fatigue from Lyme disease, they have to manage how much energy they can expend in a day, while others can hardly get out of bed. Reduced levels of energy significantly interfere with normal day-to-day activities such as work and household chores, and can also affect relationships.

Fatigue Impacted Allies Relationships and Life

It is not uncommon for people to get labeled with chronic fatigue syndrome before a diagnosis of tick-borne infections is made. With any syndrome, the symptoms are described but the underlying cause is not. Other infections such as Epstein-Barr virus and mycoplasma can also contribute to chronic fatigue.

Causes of Lyme-Related Fatigue

Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections can affect different organ systems on the body, including some that play a role in energy production.

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Later Symptoms And Signs Of Lyme Disease

If you dont seek treatment, other symptoms and signs of infection may appear over the following weeks and months, including:

  • The bulls eye rash. It is also called erythema migrans, and it may appear on other areas of your body.
  • Neurological problems. At any time after the initial Lyme disease infection, even years later, you could develop meningitis, Bells palsy , weakness or numbness in your limbs and impaired muscle movement.

You may also suffer from:

  • Other rashes

Many weeks after infection, some people develop:

  • Severe fatigue

How Do You Get Lyme Disease

What are the Symptoms of 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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Are There Different Lyme Disease Bells Palsy And Facial Paralysis Symptoms

A common symptom of Lyme disease that causes Bells palsy is weakness on one side of the face. Comparatively, Lyme disease related to facial paralysis can result in weakness on one or both sides of the face.

Also, Lyme disease linked to facial paralysis can cause fever, chills, neck stiffness, and other flu-like symptoms. On the other hand, Lyme disease related to Bells palsy is unlikely to cause any of these symptoms.

Elbow And Hip Dysplasia

Elbow and hip dysplasia are developmental abnormalities affecting the elbow and hip joints, respectively. Both issues are classified as chronic joint disease. Severe joint pain is more common among large and giant breed dogs.

Hip dysplasia results in hind legs lameness, and elbow dysplasia results in front legs lameness.

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Recognizing Knee Pain Associated With Lyme Disease

In our rural health center in Maine, Lyme disease is the most common cause of acute non-injury-related knee pain and swelling, usually presenting as unilateral, red, and warm, writes Dr. Miller in a recent letter to the American Family Practice journal. It can also be transitory and migratory. Many patients are unaware of having had a tick bite.

Dr. Miller often treats empirically. Because early treatment of Lyme disease decreases the chance of chronic symptoms, we often treat empirically with doxycycline while awaiting results of antibody testing. Travelers to high-risk areas may return home and develop symptoms weeks later.

  • Miller R. Lyme Disease As Possible Contributing Factor for Knee Pain. Am Fam Physician. 2019 100:4.
  • Latest From the Lyme Disease Science Blog

    Diagnosing Neurological Lyme Disease

    tick bite treatments

    The first step in the diagnosis of Lyme disease and associated infections is to order blood tests through a Lyme specific laboratory. It is well-established the traditional two-tiered test has low sensitivity for diagnosing Lyme disease.

    The diagnosis of acute central nervous system involvement of Lyme disease requires a lumbar puncture to analyze cerebral spinal fluid . The analysis of the CSF should include IgM and IgG antibodies to Borrelia bacteria and a test looking for the bacteria DNA . If either of these markers is elevated, it is diagnostic of Lyme neuroborreliosis.

    An increased level of white blood cells in the CSF known as pleocytosis also aids in the diagnosis. However, some people with neuroborreliosis do not have elevated antibodies in the CSF, and since pleocytosis can be present in other central nervous system infections, Lyme disease may not be considered.

    The chemical attractant something known to call the immune system to fight an infection CXCL13 in the CSF has become an important marker to help diagnose Lyme neuroborreliosis. In a 2018 study of Lyme neuroborreliosis patients with elevated white blood cells but no detectable Lyme antibodies in their CSF, 73% had raised levels of CXCL13. The authors of the study have proposed a CXCL13 result greater than 160 pg/mL is consistent with Lyme neuroborreliosis.

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