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Symptoms Of Late Stage Lyme Disease

How Dangerous Is Lyme Disease?

The CDC reports that late stage Lyme disease may appear days to months after the initial tick bite and may include but are not limited to:

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Additional EM rashes in new places on the body
  • Facial palsy, also known as Bells palsy paralysis of one side of the face
  • Arthritis or joint pain and swelling, especially of large joints
  • Intermittent tendon, muscle, joint, nerve, or bone pain
  • Heart palpitations or arrhythmia
  • Dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Inflammation of the brain or spinal cord
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet

As mentioned above, late stage Lyme may also be characterized by the recurrence of early stage symptoms, such as fatigue.

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Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • I found a tick embedded in my skin, but I cant get it out. What should I do?
  • Ive been bitten by a tick. Do I need to be seen?
  • Do I need a blood test to confirm Lyme disease?
  • Which antibiotic is best for me?
  • How long will I have to take the antibiotic?
  • What tick or insect repellent should I use for me or my child?
  • How long will the symptoms last?
  • What should I do if I still dont feel well a long time after I was bitten?

Early Detection Is Key

Lyme disease is easiest to treat at the early or acute stage, within the first 30 days of exposure. This is why its so important to take precautions to prevent tick bites, both during and outside of tick season. Protect yourself when near potential tick habitats, always perform tick checks after outdoor activity , and dont delay seeking medical attention if you notice any symptoms that might be related to tick-borne illness. Its important to get tested as soon as possible for the best chances of recovery.

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Who Is At Risk For Lyme Disease

Anyone can get a tick bite. But people who spend lots of time outdoors in wooded, grassy areas are at a higher risk. This includes campers, hikers, and people who work in gardens and parks.

Most tick bites happen in the summer months when ticks are most active and people spend more time outdoors. But you can get bitten in the warmer months of early fall, or even late winter if temperatures are unusually high. And if there is a mild winter, ticks may come out earlier than usual.

Lyme Disease Symptoms Also Occur In Other Diseases

Do You Have Lyme Disease?

Many Lyme symptoms, such as fatigue, cognitive impairment, joint pain, poor sleep, mood problems, muscle pain, and neurological presentations also occur in other diseases. Hence, the symptoms of Lyme disease significantly overlap those of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons disease, ALS, depression and Alzheimers disease. Many Lyme patients report being misdiagnosed with a different condition before being properly diagnosed with Lyme disease.

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Lyme Disease And The Cdc

In order for the Centers for Disease Control to recognize a Lyme case for surveillance purposes, there must be objective findings, such as positive blood tests, Bells palsy or joint swelling . The chart below reflects the CDC-reviewed surveillance case manifestations from 2001 to 2010.

This situation contributes to what many experts view as severe undercounting of Lyme disease by the CDC.

What Are The Complications Of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease affects people differently. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Complications of untreated early-stage disease include:

  • Joint disease

  • Frequent hospitalizations to manage the disease

Some of these complications result in chronic, debilitating conditions.

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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How Can You Reduce Tick Habitats Near Your Home

Here are some ways to limit exposure to ticks near your home:

  • Mow the lawn regularly to keep the grass short
  • Remove leaf litter, brush and weeds at the edge of the lawn and around stonewalls and woodpiles
  • Stack firewood neatly and in a dry area
  • Put barriers to exclude deer around your home and seal stonewalls and small openings to discourage rodent activity
  • Place childrens recreational playground sets, patios and decks away from the yard edges and trees. Place them on a woodchip or mulch foundation and in a sunny location, if possible.
  • Treat pets that are commonly exposed to ticks with oral or topic acaricides as they could carry ticks into the home

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What Are The Treatments For Lyme Disease

What to Know about 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 don’t 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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Stage : Late Disseminated Lyme Disease

Late disseminated Lyme disease occurs when the infection hasnt been treated in stages 1 and 2. Stage 3 can occur months or years after the tick bite.

This stage is characterized by:

  • arthritis of one or more large joints
  • brain disorders, such as encephalopathy, which can cause short-term memory loss, difficulty concentrating, mental fogginess, problems with following conversations and sleep disturbance
  • numbness in the arms, legs, hands, or feet

Chronic Lyme: What Happens When Lyme Goes Untreated

The Lyme community typically uses the term chronic Lyme disease to describe a range of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms that crop up after getting Lyme disease and persist for months to years after infection.

The risk of chronic Lyme increases the longer a Lyme infection goes untreated or undertreated. In other words, patients are more likely to recover fully if their Lyme infection is detected and treated as early as possible after the discovery of a tick bite. This stage is usually marked by symptoms such as fevers, chills, muscle aches, and sometimes rashes.

When left untreated or undertreated, however, Lyme disease can spread throughout the body and affect:

  • The central nervous system
  • Muscles and joints

As Lymedisease.org points out, these symptoms can evolve, disappear, and reappear at different times.

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Stage : Changing Skin

In stage 3, few signs of Lyme disease appear on the skin. Most problems occur in the heart and nervous system, and these can be serious.

Where you see signs on your skin: If you were in Europe when bit by a tick, you may see changes to your skin in this late stage. These changes usually appear on a hand or foot. Some people develop this change on both of their hands or feet. It can also occur on a knee, elbow, or elsewhere.

What the skin looks like: The skin begins to swell, and you may notice some redness. These signs are caused by having a bacterial infection for a long time. The affected skin may also feel sore.

In time, the skin starts to harden and shrink, causing deep lines to form. If you have hair in the area, it tends to fall out. The sweat glands can die, and the skin often becomes so thin that it tears easily. The medical name for this condition is acrodermatitischronical atrophicans.

In stage 3, you may also see tumors on your skin. It is believed that the long-term infection and swelling in the lymph nodes can lead to a cancer known as cutaneous B-cell lymphoma.

Skin starts to harden and shrink, causing deep lines to form

The medical name for this condition is acrodermatitis chronical atrophicans. Swelling, hardened skin, and deep lines on the foot of someone who has had Lyme disease for years.

When you see signs of changing skin and symptoms: These tend to occur months or years after you are bitten by a tick.

  • Arthritis

  • Dementia

  • Heart failure

Key Points For Healthcare Providers

Self
  • Antibody-based Lyme disease tests have excellent sensitivity in patients with Lyme arthritis. PCR can be used as an adjunctive diagnostic test to identify DNA in synovial fluid but should not be the first lab test used.
  • Lyme arthritis can be mistaken for septic arthritis, especially in children. Whereas septic arthritis may require surgical intervention, Lyme arthritis generally does not.
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    How Is Lyme Disease Treated

    With early-stage Lyme disease, youâll take antibiotics for about 10 days to 3 weeks. The most common ones are amoxicillin, cefuroxime, and doxycycline. The antibiotics will almost always cure your infection. If they donât, you might get other antibiotics either by mouth or as a shot.

    If you donât treat your Lyme infection, you might need oral antibiotics for symptoms like weakened face muscles and irregular heartbeat. You may need antibiotics if you have meningitis, inflammation in your brain and spinal cord, or more severe heart problems.

    If your Lyme is late stage, the doctor might give you antibiotics either by mouth or as a shot. If it causes arthritis, youâll get arthritis treatment.

    Thereâs no therapy for post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.

    What Happens At Your Appointment

    The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.

    Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and theres not always an obvious rash.

    2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.

    You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.

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    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.

    Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

    Do you know the signs of Lyme disease?

    People with Lyme disease may react to it differently, and the symptoms can vary in severity.

    Although Lyme disease is commonly divided into three stages early localized, early disseminated, and late disseminated symptoms can overlap. Some people will also present in a later stage of disease without having symptoms of earlier disease.

    These are some of the more common symptoms of Lyme disease:

    • a flat, circular rash that looks like a red oval or bulls-eye anywhere on your body
    • other flu-like symptoms

    These symptoms may occur soon after the infection, or months or years later.

    Your child may have Lyme disease and not have the bulls-eye rash. According to an early study, results showed roughly 89 percent of children had a rash.

    Lyme disease is best treated in the early stages. Treatment for early localized disease is a simple 10- to 14-day course of oral antibiotics to eliminate the infection.

    Medications used to treat Lyme disease include:

    • doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime, which are first-line treatments in adults and children
    • cefuroxime and amoxicillin, which are used to treat women who are nursing or breastfeeding

    Intravenous antibiotics are used for some forms of Lyme disease, including those with cardiac or central nervous system involvement.

    After improvement and to finish the course of treatment, healthcare providers will typically switch to an oral regimen. The complete course of treatment usually takes 1428 days.

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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.

  • Telford SR, Wormser GP. Bartonella transmission by ticks not established.Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 Mar 16 379-84.
    • Report being bitten by a tick, or
    • Live in, or have recently visited, a tick-infested area.

    Chronic Lyme Disease Vs Acute And Late Stage Lyme

    One reason chronic Lyme disease is harder to detect and treat than Lyme at earlier stages is that chronic Lyme disease symptoms are more wide-ranging and varied. Chronic Lyme disease can cause symptoms of early Lyme disease such as fatigue and muscle aches to recur, but it can also cause new symptoms that affect different parts of the body.

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    What Is Late Lyme Disease

    Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is caused by an infection with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is disseminated through tick bites. Infected ticks usually bite small mammals, who do not develop any kind of infection from the bacteria. When humans are exposed to B. Burgdorferi from a tick bite, however, they can develop Lyme disease.

    People who work outside or spend time in woodland areas, where there is greater potential for exposure to tick bites, are most at risk of infection.

    Lyme disease is a condition which progresses in stages:

  • A person will initially develop early localized lyme disease, in which the bacteria have not yet spread through the body. At this stage, which generally has its onset days or weeks after the tick bite, a personâs symptoms will usually include a fever, fatigue, and a rash, called the Erythema Migrans rash, which has a distinctive bullsâ eye shape and affects around two thirds of people who develop Lyme disease. See this resource for more information on symptoms and treatment of early localized Lyme disease.
  • If Lyme disease is not diagnosed in either of these early stages, and is not treated effectively with antibiotics, the bacteria that cause LD can spread throughout the body from the site of the tick bite, resulting in late disseminated Lyme disease, or late lyme disease. The onset of symptoms and complications of late disseminated Lyme disease is usually around 6-36 months after the original infection.
  • How You Get Lyme Disease

    Our Dogs Can Get Lyme Vaccines And We (Still) Can

    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 can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown plants where they have access to animals to feed on.

    They’re common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.

    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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    Unexplained Pain And Other Sensations

    Some people with Lyme may have sharp rib and chest pains that send them to the emergency room, suspecting a heart problem 00090-7/abstract%20″ rel=”nofollow”> 27).

    When no problem is found, after the usual testing, the ER diagnosis is noted as an unidentified musculoskeletal cause.

    You can also have strange sensations like skin tingling or crawling, or numbness or itchiness 00090-7/abstract%20″ rel=”nofollow”> 27).

    Other symptoms have to do with cranial nerves.

    • Ear-ringing . Tinnitus can be a nuisance, especially at bedtime when it seems to get louder as youre trying to fall asleep. About 10 percent of people with Lyme experience this (
    • Hearing loss. One study reported that 15 percent of Lyme patients experienced loss of hearing .
    • Jaw pain or toothaches that are not related to actual tooth decay or infection.

    Summary:

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