Symptoms Of Late Stage Lyme Disease
Your suffering has moved from an occasional inflammation flare-up to chronic pain in your muscles, tendons, and joints. You may have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis. Your headaches have become severe. You may even experience dizziness or vertigo.
Additional symptoms include a stiff neck, sleep disorders like insomnia, and numbness in your outer extremities. You may also lack the ability to focus, and paying attention when having conversations has become difficult. Your fatigue is so bad you sometimes do not want to attempt getting out of bed.
The worse symptom may be that you have tried to get the right help, but doctors have failed to give you an accurate diagnosis. Because of this, you may feel like you are crazy, or your friends and family may not believe you are in pain.
You may be wondering how you were able to reach late stage Lyme disease without proper treatment.
If The C6 Test Is Positive What Is The Next Step
A positive C6 test means antibodies to C6 were found. The next step is to do a QC6 test, which determines if the levels of antibody are high enough to justify treatment. If the value of the QC6 is higher than 30 IU/mL and signs of illness are present, then antibiotic treatment should be considered. If the QC6 is less than 30 IU/mL and there are no signs of illness, then treatment may not be necessary.
In addition to doing the QC6 test, your veterinarian may want to take samples of blood and urine to assess kidney function and to look for protein in the urine. A positive test for protein in the urine could signal serious underlying kidney disease.
You May Like: Joint Pain After Lyme Disease
What Do I Do If I Find A Tick On My Skin
Dont panic. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skins surface as possible. Pull up with steady, even pressure. Be careful not to squeeze or twist the tick body. Sometimes parts of the tick remain in the skin. You can leave them alone or carefully remove them the same way you would a splinter. Do not use heat , petroleum jelly, or other methods to try to make the tick back out on its own. These methods are not effective.
Wash the area where the tick was attached thoroughly with soap and water. Keep an eye on the area for a few weeks and note any changes. Call your doctor if you develop a rash around the area where the tick was attached. Be sure to tell your doctor that you were bitten by a tick and when it happened.
Read Also: Pcr Blood Test For Lyme Disease
What Are The Stages Of Lyme Infection
There are three stages:
- Early localized Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and a rash that looks like a bull’s-eye or is round and red and at least 2 inches long
- Early disseminated Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like pain, weakness, or numbness in your arms and legs, changes in your vision, heart palpitations and chest pain, a rash , and a type of facial paralysis known as Bellâs palsy
- Late disseminated Lyme: This can happen weeks, months, or years after the tick bite. Symptoms might include arthritis, severe fatigue and headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and confusion.
About 10% of people treated for Lyme infection donât shake the disease. They may go on to have three core symptoms: joint or muscle pain, fatigue, and short-term memory loss or confusion. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. It can be hard to diagnose because it has the same symptoms as other diseases. Plus, there isn’t a blood test to confirm it.
Experts arenât sure why Lyme symptoms donât always go away. One theory is that your body keeps fighting the infection even after the bacteria are gone, like an autoimmune disorder.
What To Do If You Find A Tick
Depending on the area, anywhere from less than 1% to more than 50% of ticks carry Lyme disease, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. If you find a tick on your body, you should remove it. ILADS recommends contacting your doctor immediately if you’ve been bitten by a black-legged tick, before symptoms of Lyme disease appear .
According to Bran, Lyme infection may be prevented if the tick bite happened within 72 hours of you starting treatment.
Not all ticks carry Lyme disease.
ILADS recommends saving the tick in a container with a lid or a ziplock bag. This allows you to send it in for testing or to get confirmation by your doctor.
How long does an infected tick need to be attached to pass on Lyme disease? Expert advice varies
But the sooner you spot and remove the tick, the better.
Read Also: Best Lyme Clinic In The World
What Happens If You Go Untreated For Lyme Disease
If untreated, Lyme disease can progress to chronic Lyme disease or stage 3 of Lyme disease. Stage 3 Lyme disease occurs months to years after the initial infection or a period of latency. Most patients presenting with the late disease do not have erythema migrans because the rash urges the patient to seek treatment earlier.
Tobacco To Turn Off Ticks
Birds get ticks, too. The house finch has developed a strategy to fight ticks. A study in the Avian Biology journal has shown that breeding house finches use cigarette stubs to proof their nests. The nicotine wards off parasites, but sadly the neurotoxin can also have negative effects on the chicks.
Ticks a plague for humans and animals alike
Also Check: Lyme Disease And Peripheral Neuropathy
Read Also: Can Lyme Disease Cause Lower Back Pain
What If I Dont Feel Better After Treatment
If youre treated for Lyme disease and dont feel better after youve finished your treatment, talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend a longer course of antibiotics or may be able to prescribe another medication to help with symptoms like joint or muscle pain.
You might also want to seek a second opinion, especially if your Lyme disease diagnosis was not initially confirmed via a two-step blood test. If your body has not responded to antibiotics, its possible that something else besides the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is making you sick. In 2017, for example, the CDC reported on a woman who was given antibiotics and herbal remedies to treat her chronic Lyme disease, when she actually hadand eventually died fromamyotrophic lateral sclerosis .
Even if you do recover completely from a Lyme disease diagnosis, your immune system may continue making antibodies to fight Lyme disease bacteria for months or even years after the infection is gone. Those antibodies wont protect you from getting a second Lyme disease infection, however, so be sure to take steps to protect yourself from ticks in the future.
Serious Complications Of Lyme Disease
Lyme arthritis was the first recognized symptom of Lyme Disease the fact that a whole bunch of kids in Lyme, Connecticut ended up with it was what led to the discovery of Lyme Disease as a tick-borne infection in the 1970s. It’s a Stage 3 manifestation resulting from Lyme Disease going untreated, and if you have it, you may experience chronic or recurrent bouts of joint swelling and pain in a few large joints, such as the knees. Your range of motion may be limited, painful, or both, enough so that you are unable to work. Managed with antibiotics, around 60 percent of patients with untreated Lyme Disease go on to develop Lyme arthritis.
Acrodermatitis chronicum atrophicans, also sometimes called Herxheimer disease, is a serious dermatological condition associated with late disseminated Lyme Disease. A progressive condition, ACA eventually results in widespread skin atrophy and neuropathic pain. Initially, the affected area of skin will likely have a blue hue a sign to see a doctor.
Late Lyme encephalopathy is one of the scarier aspects of late-stage Lyme Disease. Encephalopathy itself is a general term for brain damage, and is often associated with kidney failure or cirrhosis. It can lead to a wide variety of symptoms, including :
- Memory loss
You May Like: Lab Work For Lyme Disease
Indirect Testing Can Be More Limited Than Direct Testing
Both tests used in the CDC recommended two-step process are indirect methods of diagnosismeaning they do not detect the actual Lyme disease bacteria itself but, instead, measure the bodys immune system response to the presence of disease-causing bacteria. However, a number of factors can prevent the body from producing antibodies, including the following:
- Timing: If conducted in the early stages of Lyme disease, a patients body may not have developed a sufficient enough number of antibodies to detect. This issue can be compounded by the lack of sensitivity of the ELISA test.
- Immunity Suppression: The saliva of infected ticks contains specific immune-suppressing components that can delay or prevent the activation of a persons immune response. These components are designed to prevent the body from effectively fighting off the Lyme disease-causing bacteria, so it has a chance to take hold.
- Antibiotics: If patients are taking antibiotics at the time of the Lyme disease test, they may not produce enough antibodies to be detected by the test.
- Modified Form of Borrelia: In some patients, the Borrelia bacteria will transform into a cyst, which will prevent the bodys immune system from producing antibodies.
- Weakened Immune System: False negatives can also result in patients in whom the immune system is weakened or compromised due to coinfection with another illness.
- Seronegative patients: These patients do not produce antibodies.
You May Like: What Type Of Doctor Treats Lyme Disease
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed And Treated
Lyme disease is usually diagnosed when a person develops a bull’s-eye rash, flu-like symptoms , or both. These symptoms usually start a few days or weeks after the person is bitten by an infected tick.
A two-step blood test can verify the presence of Lyme disease antibodies, although it does take a few weeks for those antibodies to develop. And despite what some physicians and advocacy groups claim, a blood test is the only way Lyme disease can be confirmed, Larry Zemel, MD, head of rheumatology at Connecticut Childrens Medical Center, tells Health. Some doctors say they can diagnose Lyme even when patients test negative repeatedly, but that has not been borne out by any scientific study, he says.
When people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in its early stages, a 10- to 20-day course of oral antibioticsusually with a drug called doxycyclinewill clear the infection and help them feel better fairly quickly. This cures the vast majority of people, and they have a 100% recovery with no lasting effects, says Dr. Zemel.
If Lyme disease isnt diagnosed right away, it can cause more serious symptoms like arthritis and memory problems. These people may need a full month of oral antibiotics, says Dr. Zemel. About 20% of these patients will need IV antibiotics , and they may also need other medications to treat symptoms like pain and muscle stiffness.
Also Check: Lyme Disease Symptoms And Treatment
What Is The Prognosis Of Lyme Disease
Prognosis is excellent and most patients recover completely, especially if treated early with appropriate antibiotics. Sometimes a recurrent infection can occur with certain strains, but Lyme disease can be managed well with medication. Co-infection by other organisms transmitted by the same tick bite can occur.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter
Disclaimer: The above material is provided for information purposes only. The material is not nor should be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, nor does it necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of Global Lyme Alliance, Inc. or any of its directors, officers, advisors or volunteers. Advice on the testing, treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patients medical history. Global Lyme Alliance, Inc. makes no warranties of any kind regarding this Website, including as to the accuracy, completeness, currency or reliability of any information contained herein, and all such warranties are expressly disclaimed.
Read Also: Is Diarrhea A Symptom Of Lyme Disease
What Are The Risk Factors For Post Treatment Lyme Disease
Risk factors for Post Treatment Lyme Disease include:
- Delay in diagnosis
- Increased severity of initial illness
- Presence of neurologic symptoms
Increased severity of initial illness, the presence of neurologic symptoms, and initial misdiagnosis increase the risk of Post Treatment Lyme Disease. PTLD is especially common in people that have had neurologic involvement. The rates of Post Treatment Lyme Disease after neurologic involvement may be as high as 20% or even higher. Other risk factors being investigated are genetic predispositions and immunologic variables.
In addition to Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, there are several other tick-borne co-infections that may also contribute to more prolonged and complicated illness.
Symptoms Of Post Treatment Lyme Disease
- Include severe fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, & cognitive problems
- Can significantly impact patients health and quality of life
- Can be debilitating and prolonged
Our research indicates the chronic symptom burden related to PTLD is significant. Although often invisible to others, the negative impact on quality of life and daily functioning is substantial for PTLD sufferers.
The chronic symptom burden related to Lyme disease is considerable, as shown on the left side of the graph above, and statistically significantly greater than the aches and pains of daily living experienced by the control group, on the right.
Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions
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 the highly 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.external iconAm 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.
What To Do If You Find A Tick: Lyme Disease Symptoms And More
Tick bites may go unnoticed, and many people with Lyme never get a classic “bull’s-eye” rash. Here’s what to know about the mysterious disease.
Jessica is a Wellness News Writer who wants to help people stay informed about their health. She’s from the Midwest, studied investigative reporting at the Missouri School of Journalism and is now based in NYC.
Lyme disease, an illness caused by bacteria transmitted to humans through the bites of certain species of ticks, has been notoriously misunderstood and underdiagnosed. But the deer or black-legged ticks that cause the illness in the US may be a growing problem.
Traditionally, Lyme disease was thought of as a problem in the wooded Northeastern region of the US. Last year, however, reports started showing that Lyme disease is a growing problem in most parts of the country, including California and even urban areas.
Dr. James Marvel, an emergency medicine doctor at Stanford Health Care and wilderness medicine expert, has researched the contributing factors to the spread of Lyme disease in the US. In an interview with CNET, he said that data over the last few decades shows that Lyme disease has “blossomed” in a number of US states and counties, particularly in the Northeast.
“It’s not as simple as saying, ‘One hot day means there’s going to be more ticks,'” he explained.
“You’re seeing a shift toward going out in order to be socially distant,” Bran said.
Also Check: Lyme Disease Muscle Pain In Legs
Little Hope Of Improvement
Theres currently no plan for getting rid of the ticks for good, and it wouldnt be an easy task either. The little parasites are quite robust and can survive a cycle in the washing machine as well as time in the freezer. If you have a tick bite, make sure your encephalitis vaccination is up-to-date.
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 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.