Friday, July 19, 2024

Can Lyme Disease Kill You If Not Treated

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Achy Stiff Or Swollen Joints

W5: Canadians fight for Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment

Joint pain and stiffness, often intermittent, are early Lyme symptoms. Your joints may be inflamed, warm to the touch, painful, and swollen. You may have stiffness and limited range of motion in some joints .

Pain may move around. Sometimes your knees may hurt, whereas other times its your neck or your heels. You may also have bursitis . Bursae are the thin cushions between bone and surrounding tissue.

The pain may be severe, and it may be transitory. More than one joint may be affected. Most often the large joints are involved .

People often attribute joint problems to age, genetics, or sports. Lyme should be added to that list, as these statistics indicate:

  • One study estimates that 80 percent of people with untreated Lyme have muscle and joint symptoms .
  • Fifty percent of people with untreated Lyme have intermittent episodes of arthritis .
  • Two-thirds of people have their first episode of joint pain within six months of the infection .
  • Use of anti-inflammatory drugs may mask the actual number of people with joint swelling .

Summary:

Joint pain that comes and goes, or moves from joint to joint, could be a sign of Lyme.

How Long Can You Live With Chronic Lyme Disease Can Lyme Disease Kill

Lyme Disease is, undoubtedly, nasty stuff.

Days to weeks after the fateful tick bite, Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that cause Lyme, are still localized around the site of the initial encounter but you’re already likely to experience fever, joint and muscle pains, a stiff neck, and a general feeling of malaise. These symptoms are as generic as they are unpleasant, and unless you do end up with a notorious bull’s eye rash, you may have no idea what you are dealing with. Weeks to months after that, scary signs like Bell’s Palsy , shortness of breath, and heart palpitations may make their appearance. And months to years later? Say hello to forgetfulness, a lack of concentration, speech problems, sometimes severely swollen joints, tingling feelings, and severe headaches.

Lyme Disease is fairly easy to cure with oral antibiotics in the earliest stage , but if it goes undiagnosed and untreated, the consequences can be devastating. Once you start noticing all the signs of chronic Lyme Disease, or rather untreated Stage 3 or late disseminated Lyme Disease, your life might become so hard that you start wondering how long can I live with chronic Lyme Disease?

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Diagnosis Testing And Treatment

You may have heard that the blood test for Lyme disease is correctly positive only 65% of the time or less. This is misleading information. As with serologic tests for other infectious diseases, the accuracy of the test depends upon how long youve been infected. During the first few weeks of infection, such as when a patient has an erythema migrans rash, the test is expected to be negative.

Several weeks after infection, FDA cleared tests have very good sensitivity.

It is possible for someone who was infected with Lyme disease to test negative because:

  • Some people who receive antibiotics early in disease may not have a fully developed antibody response or may only develop an antibody response at levels too low to be detected by the test.
  • Antibodies against Lyme disease bacteria usually take a few weeks to develop, so tests performed before this time may be negative even if the person is infected. In this case, if the person is retested a few weeks later, they should have a positive test if they have Lyme disease. It is not until 4 to 6 weeks have passed that the test is likely to be positive. This does not mean that the test is bad, only that it needs to be used correctly.
  • If you are pregnant and suspect you have contracted Lyme disease, contact your physician immediately.

    * Silver HM. Lyme disease during pregnancy. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 1997 Mar 11:93-7.

    The most common co-infections that occur with Lyme disease are anaplasmosis and babesiosis. In general:

    References:

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    What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease

    • Lyme disease is an infection caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is most commonly transmitted by a tick bite.

    • There are over 300,000 estimated new cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year.

    • The symptoms of Lyme disease depend on the how long the infection has been present in the body. The first sign of Lyme disease is often an expanding round or oval red “bullseye” rash.

    • If left untreated, people may develop neurological symptoms and heart problems, and have an approximately 60 percent chance of developing Lyme arthritis.

    How Is Lyme Disease Treated

    Ticks Be Gone! Lyme Disease FYI

    Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for you based on:

    • How old you are

    Lyme disease in the earliest stage is usually treated with antibiotics for 2 to 3 weeks.

    Treatment will also be considered based on these and other factors:

    • If you are bitten by a tick that tests positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease

    • If you are bitten by a tick and have any of the symptoms

    • If you are bitten by a tick and are pregnant

    • If you are bitten by a tick and live in a high-risk area

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    Early Localized Lyme Disease

    Early localized disease, the initial manifestation, begins between three and 30 days after a bite. It is characterized by:

    • Bullseye rash and swelling,the most notorious symptom, occurs in 70% to 80% of cases. Clinically referred to as erythema migrans, its appearance variesit can be a different color or shapeespecially in people of color. It arises about a week after exposure to the bacteria.
    • Other symptoms of the first stage include fever, fatigue, headache, and joint pain. Very often, those with the conditionespecially if there is no rashfeel as if theyre experiencing the flu.

    Can Lyme Disease Kill You

    You saw a tick, maybe one already bit you or your beloved pet. Youre probably wondering if you should be alarmed because of the bite or if you should be taking any measures right away. Ticks are known to carry bacteria that can cause Lyme Disease. Typically, this bacteria can be found in wild mammals such as mice, deer and other four legged furry animals in the wild. The ticks basically feed off of these mammals and then feed on humans next which causes the transfer of the bacteria.

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    How Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented

    In areas where ticks are found, people should know about the risk of Lyme disease and should take precautions to protect themselves. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease so it can be detected and treated promptly. PHAC states that removing ticks within 24 to 36 hours after the tick bite usually prevents infection.

  • Know the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.
  • Contact a doctor immediately if you have an illness that resembles Lyme disease. If you were able to save the tick, bring it to your medical appointment as it may help the doctor.
  • PHAC has also prepared a Lyme disease tool kit which provides material to raise awareness and educate.

    Seven Herbal Medicines Can Kill Lyme Disease Bacteria In Test Tube

    Alternative treatments for Lyme disease symptoms brings new hope to those suffering

    Researchers have determined that seven herbal medicines are highly active in test tubes against B. burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, compared to the control antibiotics, doxycycline and cefuroxime.

    Published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine, the laboratory study was funded by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation and supported in part by The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation.

    Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and colleagues at the California Center for Functional Medicine and FOCUS Health Group, Naturopathic collaborated on the study.

    Since traditional antibiotic approaches fail to resolve symptoms in up to 25% of patients treated for Lyme disease and many suffer disabling effects of the disease, there is a need for novel treatment proven effective against B. burgdorferi, said the papers co-author Sunjya K. Schweig, MD, CEO and co-director, California Center for Functional Medicine and Scientific Advisory Board Member, Bay Area Lyme Foundation.

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    Visual Auditory And Sensory Symptoms

    If the bacteria that causes Lyme disease moves into the central nervous system, it sensory issues. This can include sensitivity to light as well as other visual disturbances.

    In some cases, Lyme disease can cause auditory issues. According to a 2021 study , Lyme disease may contribute to the development of lesions that may cause sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

    The researchers noted that people with long-duration infections were more likely to experience permanent and irreversible changes in the cochlea or auditory nerve.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

    The list of possible symptoms is long, and symptoms can affect every part of the body. The following are the most common symptoms of Lyme disease. But symptoms are slightly different for each person.

    The primary symptom is a red rash that:

    • Can appear several days after infection, or not at all

    • Can last up to several weeks

    • Can be very small or grow very large , and may resemble a “bulls-eye”

    • Can mimic such skin problems as hives, eczema, sunburn, poison ivy, and flea bites

    • Can itch or feel hot, or may not be felt at all

    • Can disappear and return several weeks later

    Several days or weeks after a bite from an infected tick, you may have flu-like symptoms such as the following:

    Weeks to months after the bite, the following symptoms may develop:

    • Neurological symptoms, including inflammation of the nervous system and weakness and paralysis of the facial muscles

    • Heart problems, including inflammation of the heart and problems with heart rate

    • Eye problems, including inflammation

    Months to a few years after a bite, the following symptoms may include:

    • Inflammation of the joints

    • Neurological symptoms including numbness in the extremities, tingling and pain, and difficulties with speech, memory, and concentration

    Some people may develop post-Lyme disease syndrome . A condition also known as chronic Lyme disease includes PLDS, but also other syndromes. Usually, these are characterized by persistent musculoskeletal and peripheral nerve pain, fatigue, and memory impairment.

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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.

    Polymerase Chain Reaction Test

    Can Lyme Disease Kill You

    The polymerase chain reaction test detects the DNA of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. It is sometimes used for select individuals who have neurological symptoms or Lyme arthritis. The PCR test is performed on spinal fluid collected from a lumbar puncture or synovial fluid . This test is generally available only in research settings and for most people, standard 2-step tests are preferred.

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    What Is Lyme Disease

    Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. This spiral shaped bacterium is most commonly spread by a tick bite. The disease takes its name from Lyme, Connecticut. This is where the illness was first identified in the United States in 1975.

    Although Lyme disease is a year-round problem, April through October is considered tick season. Cases of Lyme disease have been reported in nearly all states in the U.S. and in large areas in Europe and Asia, but the most common areas are the Northeast, upper Midwest and northwestern states.

    Treating Late Stage Lyme Disease

    Most cases of Lyme disease involve a rash and flu-like symptoms that resolve within 1 month of antibiotic treatment. However, some people go on to develop late-stage Lyme disease, which includes Lyme arthritis and neurologic Lyme disease.

    Untreated, slightly more than half of people infected with B. burgdorferi will develop Lyme arthritis. About 10% to 20 % of people develop neurologic Lyme disease. A very small percentage may develop acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans, a serious type of skin inflammation occurring more frequently in Europe. These conditions are treated for up to 28 days with antibiotic therapy.

    If arthritis symptoms persist for several months, a second 2 to 4 week course of antibiotics may be recommended. Oral antibiotics are used for Lyme arthritis and acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans.

    In rare cases, people with arthritis may need intravenous antibiotics. A 2 to 4 week course of intravenous ceftriaxone is used for treating severe cases of neurological Lyme disease. For milder cases, 2 to 4 weeks of oral doxycycline is an effective option.

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    How Is Lyme Disease Transmitted

    Ticks usually live in woods or tall grasslands in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia. Ticks can become infected with Borrelia burgdorferi by feeding on infected wild animals, and then can spread the bacteria when they feed on blood from the host. Ticks cannot fly – they hang onto small bushes or tall grasses and are usually found close to the ground. They wait for an animal or person to pass near them and when the animal or person makes contact, the ticks attach themselves to the skin to feed.

    In North America, Lyme disease is transmitted mainly by two species of ticks:

    • Blacklegged tick , Ixodes scapularis.
    • Western blacklegged tick, Ixodes pacificus.

    The Public Health Agency of Canada states that there no evidence that Lyme disease can spread from person-to-person. Pets, especially dogs, can get Lyme disease, but there is no evidence that pets can spread the infection directly to humans. They may, however, carry infected ticks into the home or yard which may increase the chance of transmission.

    Children Pregnant Women And Repellents

    Think the Lyme Disease Rash is Always a Bull’s-eye? Think Again! | Johns Hopkins Rheumatology

    Children may be at greater risk for adverse reactions to repellents, in part, because their exposure may be greater.

    • Keep repellents out of the reach of children.
    • Do not allow children to apply repellents to themselves.
    • Use only small amounts of repellent on children.
    • Do not apply repellents to the hands of young children because this may result in accidental eye contact or ingestion.
    • Try to reduce the use of repellents by dressing children in long sleeves and long pants tucked into boots or socks whenever possible. Use netting over strollers, playpens, etc.
    • As with chemical exposures in general, pregnant women should take care to avoid exposures to repellents when practical, as the fetus may be vulnerable.

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    How To Live With Lyme Disease

    People who are treated in the early stages of Lyme disease with antibiotics typically recover quickly and completely. However, treatment is sometimes delivered by IV to people in a hospital who can’t take the oral medications, or for people who are very sick with neurological Lyme disease. To live with Lyme disease, you need to keep the following things in mind:

    1. Sun Sensitivity

    People who are taking antibiotic doxycycline and who are strongly affected by the sun are advised against using sunscreen, as it’s ineffective with doxyclicine and can quickly lead to painful sunburns. The most important thing you can do is stay indoors during the middle of the day or wear long sleeve shirts and long pants, as well as a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses.

    2. Probiotics

    When taking antibiotics to treat Lyme disease, it’s important that you take a good probiotic at least 2 hours after your antibiotics and continue the probiotics for up to a month after your antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics kill off the good and bad bacteria in your gut, which means that you are susceptible to a Clostridium difficile infection , and in some cases, C. diff infection can lead to a hole in the intestines, which can be fatal.

    3. Blood Tests

    4. Immune System

    5. Diet

    6. Support

    Other Ways Lyme Disease Can Harm You

    Getting Lyme disease does not equal death. If you can get your Lyme disease diagnosed and treated correctly, you can live a long, healthy, symptom-free life.

    When Lyme disease goes untreated or misdiagnosed, the symptoms continue to develop, and the infection spreads to more parts of your body. Depending on which parts of the body are affected, it can increase your risk for more serious, life-threatening conditions. Below are some examples of this progression.

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    How You Get Lyme Disease

    If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the tick can become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.

    Ticks don’t jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.

    Generally, you’re more likely to become infected if the tick is attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. Ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.

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