What Causes Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of the tiny black-legged, or deer, tick found in the Eastern and Central U.S., and the western black-legged tick in the Pacific West. The riskiest months for Lyme disease are May through September, when young ticks are likely to be biting.
In humans, the bacteria may cause flu-like symptoms. If left untreated, it may attack many tissues — including the heart and nervous system — and trigger an immune response that can lead to Lyme arthritis.
Learn The Stages Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease occurs in three stages: early localized, early disseminated and late disseminated. However the stages can overlap and not all patients go through all three. A bulls-eye rash is usually considered one of the first signs of infection, but many people develop a different kind of rash or none at all. In most cases, Lyme symptoms can start with a flu-like illness. If untreated, the symptoms can continue to worsen and turn into a long-lived debilitating illness.
Stage 1: Early Localized Disease
Symptoms with early localized Lyme disease may begin hours, a few days or even weeks after a tick bite. At this point, the
infection has not yet spread throughout the body. Lyme is the easiest to cure at this stage.
Symptoms may include:
Get started with your diary
Can Lyme Disease Go Undetected
Diagnostic medicine has advanced lightyears ahead of where it was in past decades, but there are a few common diseases that are notoriously difficult to diagnose. Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne disease, is very difficult to diagnose for a few reasons. One of the chief reasons why Lyme disease can go untreated in many patients is because they dont know that theyve been bitten. Unlike mosquitoes, whose bites are noticeable , tick bites are painless and very difficult to notice unless you can see the tick on your skin. Ticks are notoriously secretive in their biting habits they like to find protected areas on your body where they can feed and shelter for as long as they are able. Unfortunately for us, this means that our armpits, scalps, and nether regions are prime targets for these creatures. Such areas are also places we dont often check for invaders, and therein lies the danger. For and illness like Lyme disease to be transmitted, you have about 24-48 hours to remove the tick before its bacteria pass into your bloodstream. Thus, tick checks should be taken very seriously after working outside or even taking walks through a park. All it takes is one chance encounter with a tick for your health to take a turn for the worse, so dont take any risks.
Also Check: Antibiotics For Lyme Disease In Humans
Learn More About Lyme Disease Treatment
When youre experiencing Lyme disease symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Constantine Kotsanis at the Kotsanis Institute of Functional Medicine. He has years of experience treating Lyme disease, and he understands the seriousness of Lyme disease treatment. Best of all, he is committed to ensuring his patients stay as healthy as possible. Lyme disease is curable, so getting effective Lyme disease treatment will help resolve your symptoms and ensure your health remains intact.
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.
You May Like: What Do Ticks That Carry Lyme Disease Look Like
What Should I Do If I Find A Tick On My Child
Don’t panic. First Lyme disease is spread by the black-legged tick, not by the larger and more-common dog tick. The risk of developing Lyme disease after a black-legged tick bite is low, especially if the tick has been attached for a short time.
If you find a tick on your child, remove it using a fine-tipped pair of tweezers. Grasp the body of the tick and pull in an upward motion until the tick comes out. Do not squeeze or twist the ticks body. Take note of the ticks size and color, and how long you think it has been attached to your child.
If your child has been bitten by a black-legged tick that has been attached for more than 24 hours and you are in a Lyme disease endemic area, consult with your pediatrician. In some cases, your child may be prescribed antibiotics to prevent Lyme disease from developing.
How Long Do Symptoms Of Lyme Disease Last
The symptoms of Lyme disease can last a long time. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that patients with chronic neurologic Lyme disease were ill for up to 14 years. Two additional studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health found that people with chronic manifestations of Lyme disease were ill an average of 4.7 and 9 years.
The symptoms of Lyme disease can be severe. Patients often report having extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, mood disturbances, poor memory and concentration, headaches, dizziness, neck pain, tingling in hands and feet, and joint pain.
We do not know how long symptoms of Lyme disease last. But chronic and debilitating manifestations have been described, such as:
Some Lyme disease patients fail treatment. They may fail to get better or they may relapse. Understandably, patients want to know how long do symptoms of Lyme disease last? But there is no definitive, universal answer. Every patient is different and the cause behind persistent symptoms continues to be debated.
Recommended Reading: Stephen Buhner’s Herbal Protocol Lyme
Touched By Lyme: How Lyme Disease Can Affect Your Vision
Dr. William Padula is a noted expert on how Lyme and other tick-borne diseases can affect the eyes.
According to his website, the following can all be symptoms of tick-borne illness: blur, visual fatigue, double vision, headaches associated with visual activities, light sensitivity, 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 overwhelmed by being in a busy environment, and sensitivity to sound.
The website notes:The cause of the visual symptoms is because the tick-borne disease affects visual processing in the brain.
Recently, Dr. Padula has discovered two eye-related biomarkers for tick-borne infection.
In an article published by Healio, Dr. Padula reports: My colleagues and I have demonstrated that the presence of a hazy, white ring of peri-papillary ischemia around the optic nerve especially in children or adults younger than 60 years who would not be expected to have ischemic changes is associated with tick-borne infection. One way that spirochetes hide from the immune system is by building up protective biofilms. We believe that these biofilms clog the narrow capillary vessels just around the perimeter of the optic nerve, blocking blood flow.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
Since Lyme disease can take different forms, and since its often confused with other conditions, its important to be proactive if you suspect the condition. What signs prompt medical help? Call the healthcare provider if:
- You have a bullseye rashor any kind of rashfollowing a tick bite.
- You experience flu-like symptoms after a tick bite.
- You experience symptoms of more advanced Lyme disease: arthritis, heart palpitations, facial paralysis, dizziness, and others.
Recommended Reading: Can You Treat Lyme Disease Years Later
Signs Of Lyme Disease That Appear On Your Skin
Signs of Lyme disease
If you see a rash or another sign of Lyme disease on your skin, see your primary doctor right away. When caught early and treated, Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics and most people recover fully.
Lyme disease is caused by a bite from a black-legged tick. If you are bitten by this tick and develop Lyme disease, you may see a bulls-eye rash. Its a common sign of Lyme disease, but its not the only sign.
Lyme disease occurs in stages. Heres what you may see on your skin during each stage.
Dont Miss: Chimney Sweep Old Lyme Ct
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.
You May Like: Stem Cell Treatment For Lyme
What Happens If Chronic Lyme Disease Is Left Untreated
When you think you have been bitten by a tick, its important to schedule an appointment at Kotsanis Institute of Functional Medicine with Dr. Constantine Kotsanis. When left untreated, chronic Lyme disease can cause memory loss, inflammation around your heart and throughout your body, nerve damage, autoimmune disease, and other long-term heart problems. The good news is that Lyme disease is treatable, especially when we catch symptoms early in Grapevine, TX. We have successfully administered medication with Lyme disease treatment to our patients to rid their bodies of this infection.
Understanding Why Lyme Disease Can Lay Dormant For Years
The reason as to why Lyme disease can lay dormant for years is unclear but the attributing cause is the bacterium itself. It is able to survive inside the human body for a very long time in the nervous system without causing any problems. But then, the dormancy of the bacteria does not last forever, as it reaches a time when symptoms reappear. When they do, they are usually more severe and irreversible damage is caused. In patients who experience such an outcome, they are said to have chronic Lyme disease that persists over long periods of time. Also, the bacteria can spread deeper into the body, where antibiotics prescribed cannot reach and kill the bacteria. In this case, the patient then lives with Lyme disease and since antibiotics no longer work effectively for their case, they are given anti-inflammatory medication for the lasting complications of the disease.
Also Check: Can Lyme Disease Cause Multiple Sclerosis
If My Animal Is Positive On The Assay Should He/she Be Treated For Lyme Disease
If your animal is displaying clinical signs of Lyme disease and is positive on the Lyme Multiplex assay, it is advisable to discuss treatment options with your veterinarian. If your animal appears healthy, discuss the risks and benefits of treatment and develop a monitoring plan with your veterinarian.
Also Check: Cure Lyme Disease Without Antibiotics
Chronic Lyme Disease Treatment Protocols
Unfortunately, there is no standard chronic Lyme disease treatment or therapy because the symptoms can vary so greatly between individuals. On top of that, there is no FDA-approved treatment for prolonged cases of Lyme disease. However, patients will often undergo a variety of treatment that includes antibiotics, IV therapy, and lifestyle changes.
Don’t Miss: Does Lyme Disease Cause Weight Loss
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 can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown plants where they have access to animals to feed on.
Theyre common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.
Ticks dont jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something theyre on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.
Generally, youre 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.
Complications Of Untreated Lyme Disease
If unchecked, the Lyme disease infection can spread to other bodily systems, causing significant damage. Untreated, complications of this condition can be very severe:
- Arthritis:Prolonged infection with Lyme disease leads to chronic joint inflammation and swelling, usually in the knees . These symptoms tend to arise within two years of infection, with periods of flare-ups and remissions. This arthritis is relatively difficult to manage, though antibiotics and steroids may be attempted.
- Lyme carditis:If the bacteria reach the heart tissues, they can cause inflammation and lead to heart block. The electrical signals being sent between the upper and lower chambers of the heart are interrupted, impairing the coordination of the heartbeat. Though disruptive, this is rarely fatal.
- Lyme neuroborreliosis:Inflammation of multiple nerves, including those in the spine and brain, is the chief characteristic of this condition. This can also affect the meningesthe layer of tissue surrounding the brain and spineleading to meningitis, among other conditions. Antibiotic therapy, if applied promptly, tends to be effective as a treatment.
Even in cases where Lyme disease has progressed, antibiotic regimensespecially drugs like doxycyclineare generally successful in resolving problems.
Recommended Reading: Lyme Disease And Eye Problems
What Can I Expect Long Term If My Child Has Lyme Disease
If Lyme disease is caught and treated early, most children will make a full recovery. Some children with Lyme disease go on to experience whats called a post-infectious syndrome with symptoms that may include feeling fatigue, joint aches and pains, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and problems concentrating. Since the infection itself is gone by this time, doctors generally dont prescribe antibiotics. Each child is different, but its not uncommon for symptoms of post-infectious syndrome to linger for months, or even years, and they can be made worse by stress or other illness. But most children do make a full recovery.
Blacklegged, or deer, ticks are very small, so it helps to know what to look for when doing a tick check. Adults are about the size of sesame seeds and in the nymph or larva stage, they can be as tiny as a poppy seeds.
Symptoms Of Untreated Lyme Disease
Most patients experience flu-like symptoms of untreated Lyme disease. Other common symptoms of Lyme disease include:
Bullseye pattern rash that slowly expands
Memory or concentration problems
Most of the time, your symptoms occur a few days or weeks after being bitten by an infected tick. Dr. Kotsanis uses the western blot test and other specialty tests to detect the presence of Lyme disease. However, this can take several weeks to detect after your initial bite in Grapevine, TX.
Read Also: Do Deer Ticks Carry Lyme Disease
Cdc Supports The Development Of New Tests
New tests may be developed as alternatives to one or both steps of the two-step process. Before CDC will recommend new tests, they must be cleared by the Food and Drug Administration . For more details, see: Recommendations for Test Performance and Interpretation from the Second National Conference on Serologic Diagnosis of Lyme Disease.
Untreated Lyme Disease Frequency
Its difficult to get exact numbers when it comes to Lyme disease, in part because theres only limited accounting of the conditions frequency overall, and its often misdiagnosed or mistaken for other conditions.
Currently, its estimated that 476,000 people develop it in the United States every year, with 81% of the cases clustered in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and mid-Atlantic regions.
A significantbut shrinkingproportion of those with the disease end up progressing without treatment. Current estimates are hard to come by. In 2012, researchers estimated that about 16% of Lyme disease cases present without rashincreasing the chance that the case is missed, overall. From 1.6% to 7% of all infections have no symptoms.
Knowledge and awareness of this disease have grown over the past couple of decades, greatly improving outcomes. This improving prognosis is associated with better care and detection, leading to timelier intervention.
If you live in a hot spot area for black-legged ticks, never hesitate to reach out to your healthcare professional if youre feeling sick or have a rash.
Don’t Miss: Tick Bites Lyme Disease Pics