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How Does Lyme Disease Affect A Person

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Can Lyme Disease Completely Be Cured

What Does Lyme Disease Do To Your Body?

Taking oral antibiotics typically cures Lyme disease after two to four weeks. You may need to get antibiotics through the vein for four more weeks. However, theres no reason to think that Lyme disease stays in you forever after treatment.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

If youre going to spend time in an area that might have ticks, take measures to avoid being bitten. This includes wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants to make it harder for ticks to bite. If you feel sick after being in an area that probably has ticks, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. If your provider prescribes antibiotics, make sure you take all of them as instructed.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/16/2022.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy

Can Lyme Disease Affect Personality

Itis by no means an unprecedented occurrence for a bacterial infection to impacta patients brain. Syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection, can turn toneurosyphilis. This causes auditory and visual hallucinations andvarying types of mood disturbances in patients if left untreated. Likewise, the bacteria that leads to Lymedisease could have similar effects on the brains of people who have beeninfected.

Oftencalled The Great Imitator, Lyme disease can damage the central nervous system,which can lead to unexpected changes in a patients thoughts, feelings, andbehavior. As one study revealed: A broad range of psychiatric reactions have been associated with Lymedisease including paranoia, dementia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, panicattacks, major depression, anorexia nervosa, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.Depressive states among patients with late Lyme disease are fairly common,ranging across studies from 26% to 66%.

Withsuch a wide range of mental illness linked to Lyme-related symptoms, its nowonder that Lyme-related illness is so hard to diagnose. Because we understandso little about the long-term effects of Lyme disease and personality changes,many people who experience physical symptoms or mental illness after beingdiagnosed with Lyme disease struggle for quite some time without receiving aconcrete diagnosis.

The Chance Of Getting Lyme Disease

Not all ticks in England carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

But it’s still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.

Ticks that may cause Lyme disease are found all over the UK, but high-risk places include grassy and wooded areas in southern and northern England and the Scottish Highlands.


Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures that live in woods, areas with long grass, and sometimes in urban parks and gardens. They’re found all over the UK.

Ticks do not jump or fly. They attach to the skin of animals or humans that brush past them.

Once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off.

Also Check: How To Know If A Tick Carries Lyme Disease

What Is Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is the leading tick-borne disease in the United States. It’s most common in the Northeast and the northern midwestern states.

Lyme disease is caused by a type of found in animals like mice and deer. Deer ticks that feed on these animals can then spread the bacteria to people through tick bites.

You probably won’t see it happening. Deer ticks are tiny, so it’s very hard to see them. Immature ticks are about the size of a poppy seed. Adult ticks are about the size of a sesame seed.

It’s easy to overlook a tick bite. Many people who get Lyme disease don’t remember being bitten. The good news is that most tick bites don’t lead to Lyme disease. But it still helps to know what to watch for.

What Happens At Your Appointment

Lyme Disease Or Lyme Borreliosis Stock Vector

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 there’s 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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Did You Know That Lyme Disease Can Affect Your Eyes

May 16, 2022 By Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center

Lyme disease is a tick borne infectious disease caused by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi . It is well known that Bb can disseminate from a tick bite throughout the body to the joints, heart, and nervous system. Less well known, is the impact that Lyme disease can have on the eyes.

Research at our Center has identified impairments in eye functioning and eye inflammation in patients with Lyme disease:

Potential eye or neuro-ophthalmologic symptoms that could be associated with Lyme disease include:

  • Cranial nerve damage resulting in double vision
  • Optic nerve inflammation
  • Uveitis or inflammation of the middle layer of the eye
  • having a red eye with or without pain
    • being very sensitive to bright light
    • having blurry vision
    • seeing eye floaters
  • Scleritis or inflammation of the white part of the eye
    • redness and swelling of the white part of the eye

    What Is The Outlook With Treatment

    Oral or intravenous antibiotics treat Lyme disease. Early treatment should clear up the infection and prevent the spread of bacteria.

    In later stages, when the bacteria has spread and caused symptoms, antibiotics can still help reduce symptoms. However, they may remain for years or never fully resolve.

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    What Should You Do If You Find A Tick

    • Don’t touch the tick with your bare hand.

    • Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tick. Grab the tick firmly by its mouth or head as close to your skin as possible.

    • Pull up slowly and steadily without twisting until it lets go. Don’t squeeze the tick, and don’t use petroleum jelly, solvents, knives, or a lit match to kill the tick.

    • Save the tick. Place it in a plastic container or bag so it can be tested for disease, if needed.

    • Wash the bite area well with soap and water and put an antiseptic lotion or cream on the site.

    Who’s At Risk Of Lyme Disease

    Lyme Disease Signs and Symptoms (2 of 5) | Johns Hopkins Medicine

    The risk of getting Lyme disease is higher:

    • for people who spend time in woodland or moorland areas
    • from March to October because more people take part in outdoor activities

    It’s thought only a small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Being bitten doesn’t mean you’ll definitely be infected. However, it’s important to be aware of the risk and speak to a GP if you start to feel unwell.

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    Early Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

    Symptoms of Lyme disease in humans can be vague, and chances are you have no idea an infected tick has bitten you until symptoms surface.

    Ticks secrete an anesthetic that makes their bites painless, explains Christine Green, MD, a family physician in Mountain View, California, and a member of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s scientific advisory board. Plus, they’re tiny. A young, immature tick, called a nymphthe stage of development during which these bloodsuckers are most likely to transmit Lyme diseaseis roughly the size of a pinhead when it latches on, “so you don’t know it’s there,” she told Health.

    According to the CDC, the incubation period for Lymein other words, the time between a person’s exposure to Borrelia bacteria and symptom onsetranges from three to 30 days. The main symptoms of Lyme disease in the early days and weeks after infection can include:

    “Often these people are more sick than you would expect from a cold,” said Dr. Green. “They’re in the doctor’s office in the middle of summer, and they feel bad. They often do have headache or light sensitivity.” Even new onset ringing in the ear can be a sign of Lyme, which can affect any cranial nerve, she said.

    Jennie Johnson, MD, an attending physician of infectious diseases at Providence, Rhode Island-based Lifespan, says knee swelling is common. “They get a lot of fluid in the joint, and their joint gets big and swollen, and it’s uncomfortable,” she told Health.

    Chronic Lyme Disease: Myth Or Misunderstood

    ChronicLyme disease occurs in approximately 1020% of patients who receive treatment for acute Lyme disease. Because the patientssymptoms can no longer be linked to the presence of Lyme disease in thepatients system, the medical community struggles to identify exactly whatcauses the symptoms in patients long-term. Predictably, without a concreteexplanation for why patients arestill feeling ill after treatment, how toeliminate the symptoms the patient may still be experiencing also becomes achallenge.

    Someprofessionals prefer the term Post Lyme Disease Syndrome because theword syndrome acknowledges different causes of the post-treatment symptoms,causes of which might include persistent infection, persistent immuneactivation, damage from the prior infection, or changes in the brain chemistrythat leads to abnormally activated pain or mood pathways or altered cognition,according to Columbia Universitys medical center. Others call it Post Treatment Lyme Disease, bothof which describe the same puzzling reports of lingering symptoms.

    Image by Pexels on : Can Lyme Disease cause personality changes? Possibly many patients who have contacted Lyme disease eventually report symptoms of mental illness.

    Read Also: What Are The Signs Of Lyme Disease

    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:

    • 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.

    Whos At Risk And Where Are Ticks Found

    Chronic Lyme disease: Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment

    The risk of getting Lyme disease is higher:

    • for people who spend time in woodland or moorland areas
    • from March to October because more people take part in outdoor activities

    Ticks are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America. There are a high number of ticks in the Scottish Highlands.

    Its thought only a small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Being bitten doesnt mean youll definitely be infected. However, its important to be aware of the risk and speak to a GP if you start to feel unwell.

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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.

    Later Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

    More serious symptoms may develop if Lyme disease is left untreated or is not treated early. These can include:

    • pain and swelling in the joints
    • nerve problems such as numbness or pain in your limbs
    • memory problems
    • difficulty concentrating

    Some of these problems will get better slowly with treatment. But they can persist if treatment is started late.

    A few people with Lyme disease go on to develop long-term symptoms similar to those of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. This is known as post-infectious Lyme disease. It’s not clear exactly why this happens. It’s likely to be related to overactivity of your immune system rather than continued infection.

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    Pearls And Other Issues

    Based on the geographic distribution of the shared vector Ixodes scapularis, co-infections with Lyme disease and human granulocytic anaplasmosis and/or babesiosis can occur. Co-infected patients may be more severely ill at presentation, have a persistent fever longer than 48 hours after initiating antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease, or present with anemia, leukopenia, and/or thrombocytopenia. When co-infection is suspected or confirmed, treatment with an appropriate antimicrobial regimen for each infection is necessary for resolution of illness.

    Where Are Ticks Found

    Lyme Disease Is On The Rise. And It’s Bad.

    Ticks are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America. There are a high number of ticks in the Scottish Highlands.

    They 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.

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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.

    What Tests Are Available For Lyme Disease

    When a person becomes infected, the body creates antibodies to protect itself from the bacteria. Certain blood tests are available to measure these antibodies. However, sometimes a “false negative” test can result if there are not enough antibodies in the blood for the tests to detect accurately. A doctor should also do a complete medical examination and gather information about your recent outdoor activities in order to make a clinical diagnosis for Lyme disease.

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    Treating What You Dont Know

    The other big question is how to treat something with a cause that cant be identified.

    Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed on the theory that B. burgdorferi might still be hiding out in the body somewhere. However, although there have been anecdotal short-term successes, Marques said no studies have shown sustained benefits from antibiotics to people with chronic Lyme disease or those with post-Lyme disease syndrome.

    The majority of people who contract Lyme and are treated for it with a course of antibiotics do get better with time.

    But those who dont 10 to 20 percent, according to Marques review of the research fall into the post-Lyme disease syndrome category.

    Those people continue to experience persistent or intermittent symptoms a year after completing the antibiotics therapy.

    Children appear less likely to develop long-term symptoms as are those who dont delay antibiotics or have less severe cases of Lyme in the first place.

    In cases of chronic Lyme, people who test negative for the disease despite symptoms could be infected with another tick-borne illness or have an autoimmune disorder or other problem.

    How to treat these long-term symptoms is still a mystery.

    For now, Marques and her team are working on identifying biomarkers and other ways to find out definitively whether Lyme disease is to blame for the symptoms.

    That additional research is becoming more critical.

    Researchers have predicted higher tick numbers in some parts of the country this summer.

    Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions

    Lyme Disease: Signs, Symptoms, and Complications

    If you have not done so already, remove the tick with fine-tipped tweezers.

    The chances that you might get Lyme disease from a single tick bite depend on the type of tick, where you acquired it, and how long it was attached to you. Many types of ticks bite people in the U.S., but only blacklegged ticks transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Furthermore, only blacklegged ticks in thehighly endemic areas of the northeastern and north central U.S. are commonly infected. Finally, blacklegged ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease. This is why its so important to remove them promptly and to check your body daily for ticks if you live in an endemic area.

    If you develop illness within a few weeks of a tick bite, see your health care provider right away. Common symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash, fever, body aches, facial paralysis, and arthritis. Ticks can also transmit other diseases, so its important to be alert for any illness that follows a tick bite.


    Moody KD, Barthold SW, 1991. Relative infectivity of Borrelia burgdorferi in Lewis rats by various routes of inoculation.Am J Trop Med Hyg 44: 135-9.

    There are no reports of Lyme disease being spread to infants through breast milk. If you are diagnosed with Lyme disease and are also breastfeeding, make sure that your doctor knows this so that he or she can prescribe an antibiotic thats safe for use when breastfeeding.

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