How To Prevent Post
While you may not be able to prevent post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, you can take precautions to prevent coming into direct contact with infected ticks. The following practices can reduce your likelihood of getting Lyme disease and developing persistent symptoms.
If a tick bites you, contact your doctor. You should be observed for 30 days for signs of Lyme disease. You should also learn the signs of early Lyme disease and seek prompt treatment if you think youre infected. Early antibiotic intervention may reduce your risk of developing chronic symptoms.
The signs of early Lyme disease can occur from 3 to 30 days after a bite from an infected tick. Look for:
- a red, expanding bulls-eye rash at the site of the tick bite
Original Manifestations Of Lyme Disease
Demographic data and initial clinical picture and treatment of the patient groups.
The 25 patients in the erythema migrans group, by definition, had erythema migrans without objective manifestations of acute neuroborreliosis or Lyme arthritis. In addition to this skin lesion, they sometimes had signs and symptoms suggestive of hematogenous dissemination of the spirochete, including secondary annular skin lesions, migratory arthralgias, or transient headache and neck pain . Nineteen of 25 patients in this group were treated for erythema migrans with 1014-day courses of oral penicillin, tetracycline, or erythromycin. Thus, although hematogenous dissemination of the spirochete was probably common in this group, they did not develop acute neuroborreliosis, carditis, or subsequent Lyme arthritis.
By definition, the 28 patients in the Lyme arthritis group had intermittent or chronic arthritis, usually in one or a few joints, especially the knee. Early in the infection, these patients sometimes had signs and symptoms of dissemination of the spirochete, including secondary annular skin lesions or transient headache and neck stiffness . These 28 patients did not receive antibiotic therapy for early Lyme disease, and only 6 were treated with oral or parenteral penicillin when they had active arthritis. Thus, most patients in this group had active B. burgdorferi infection for at least several years, but none had objective findings of acute neuroborreliosis.
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.
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The Numbers On Chronic Lyme
Because Lyme disease is commonly missed or misdiagnosed, statistics vary on how many Lyme patients go on to experience chronic symptoms. The following research nonetheless paints a basic picture of the problem.
- An estimated 5-20% of patients may have chronic symptoms after getting Lyme disease, according to the Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
- The treatment failure rate for chronic Lyme disease patients was estimated at 26-50% in 2004, compared to 16-39% for early Lyme patients, according to Lymedisease.org.
- Up to 15-40% of late-stage Lyme patients develop neurological disorders, which are responsible for many common symptoms of chronic Lyme disease.
Experts dont know for sure why some people experience persistent symptoms, even with treatment. However, some believe the Lyme infection may trigger an auto-immune response that manifests in the chronic symptoms detailed below.
Chronic Lyme Disease Symptom Severity
In LDos chronic Lyme disease survey, over 75% of patients reported at least one symptom as severe or very severe and 63% reported two or more such symptoms. Find out more about LDo peer-reviewed published surveys. The chart below shows the severity of ten common chronic Lyme symptoms.
The survey also found that patients with chronic Lyme disease have high disability and unemployment rates. Over 40% of patients with chronic Lyme disease reported that they currently are unable to work because of Lyme disease and 24% report that they have received disability at some point in their illness.
How Can Lyme Disease Last For Years
Category: Health Published: October 9, 2015
If treated, Lyme disease does not last for years. However, for some people, the after-effects of the disease can linger for months and sometimes even years. Alternative medicine providers call this condition “Chronic Lyme disease,” but this title is simply wrong. For a person who has been infected with Lyme disease and then treated, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is measurably no longer present in his body, even though he may still feel some symptoms. The correct title for this condition is therefore “Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome.”
Lyme disease is an infection caused by a bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is delivered to humans through tick bites. From the bite site, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. Usually, but not always, an infectious tick bite causes a characteristic red rash at the site of the bite. Other symptoms include fever, muscle soreness, headache, fatigue, and dizziness. In a few cases, symptoms can also include mood swings, memory loss, and sleep disturbance. If left untreated for too long, Lyme disease can lead to nerve damage, thereby causing shooting pain, numbness, and even paralysis.
The CDC states,
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
It can be hard for doctors to diagnose Lyme disease because:
- The tick bites and rash might not be noticed.
- Many early symptoms seem like the flu or other illnesses.
- Blood tests are not always accurate, especially early in the illness.
Doctors can diagnose early Lyme disease if they see a tick bite and rash. Blood tests usually aren’t helpful in the first month of Lyme disease.
To diagnose late Lyme disease, doctors:
- Ask about symptoms.
- Do blood tests that look for signs of Lyme disease.
Depending on the symptoms, doctors might order other tests, such as a spinal tap, which looks at the fluid around the brain and spinal cord.
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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.
Can You Get Lyme Disease Twice
Yes, you can get reinfected with Lyme disease if a carrier tick bites you for the second time around. You may notice the same symptoms, especially the rash that looks like a bullseye or EM rash.
On the other hand, Lyme disease flare ups or the tendency to experience the same symptoms even without getting exposed to deer ticks can indicate chronic Lyme disease.
Hence, the idea that Lyme disease keeps coming back is simply due to the aggravated version of the condition. In short, the infection lingered and was not completely eradicated due to reasons yet to be uncovered by science.
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Can Lyme Disease Affect Kidney Function
Kidney disease can be a prevalent problem in patients who suffer from Lyme disease. In cases of chronic Lyme disease-induced kidney disease, the bacteria causes lesions on the kidneys, and can also cause glomerular disease.
Glomerular disease is a condition that causes red blood cells and proteins to leak out of the bloodstream and body and into the urinary tract. The condition can also cause the build-up of certain wastes because it damages the kidneys ability to rid the body properly of that waste.
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Can Lyme Cause Permanent Damage
Without treatment, Lyme can cause permanent damage. But most people with late-stage Lyme disease can recover if they get treatment with antibiotics. The longer you wait before treating Lyme disease, the longer it can take for symptoms to go away.
A small subset of people may have symptoms that persist after treatment. Some long-term complications people experience include:
Synovitis: This is inflammation of the linings of the joints. Up to 10% of people with late-stage Lyme have visible joint inflammation, even after antibiotic treatment. Immunosuppressive medications or surgery can sometimes help to reduce pain.
Post-treatment Lyme disease: This is also called chronic Lyme disease or post-lyme syndrome. It happens in around 10% to 20% of people who have had Lyme disease. Its similar to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Symptoms include fatigue, widespread musculoskeletal pain, and problems with thinking and concentration.
Encephalitis, encephalomyelitis, or encephalopathy: These types of brain and spinal cord inflammation can cause long-standing problems with movement and thinking. These symptoms rarely persist after treatment.
Neuritis or neuropathy: This is inflammation of nerves outside of the brain, throughout the body. It can cause long-lasting problems with feeling and muscle strength even after treatment. These symptoms rarely persist after treatment.
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Home Remedies For Late Stage Lyme Disease
As a way of keeping Lyme disease in check, there are several home remedies you can embrace to improve your condition. However, you should not rely on home remedies alone to cure late stage Lyme disease, instead, it should supplement the antibiotic treatment. If you leave in an area infested with the carriers of the Lyme disease-causing bacteria, that is the black-legged or deer tick, you should be careful when you are outdoors. Some effective home remedies which ease the symptoms of Lyme disease include eating foods with nattokinase enzyme and Beta-glucan which stimulates the immune system, taking probiotics to counter the side effects of the prescribed antibiotics, and consuming an essiac herbal formula that consists of burdock root, sheep sorrel, slippery elm, and rhubarb. There are no studies that support that home remedies work effectively, so they should only be applied to improve the condition and not as a curative treatment.
What Causes Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria. In the United States, this is usually a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. It spreads to humans through the bite of an infected tick. The ticks that spread it are blacklegged ticks . They are usually found in the:
- Upper Midwest
- Pacific coast, especially northern California
These ticks can attach to any part your body. But they are often found in hard-to-see areas such as your groin, armpits, and scalp. Usually the tick must be attached to you for 36 to 48 hours or more to spread the bacterium to you.
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Chronic Lyme Disease Vs Ptlds
The terms chronic Lyme disease and Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome are sometimes used interchangeably. However, PTLDS is slightly more restrictive, referring to patients who have received treatment for Lyme disease but go on to experience Lyme disease symptoms. It does not include those who received a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis and have developed chronic symptoms of Lyme disease before receiving any kind of treatment.
The CDC defines PTLDS as generalized and/or recurring pain, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties that last for more than 6 months after treatment. These mirror symptoms associated with chronic Lyme disease, with or without treatment.
How Stephanie Got Answers
About four years ago, Tait started to suspect she had Lyme disease. A family friend had Lyme, and Tait recognized some of her own symptoms appearing in her friend. She asked her doctor for an ELISA, an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, or a blood test thats typically the first way doctors test patients who may have Lyme disease. When she learned her insurance wouldnt cover the cost, she paid for the test out of pocket. It came back negative.
Tait, however, wasnt convinced. She asked for another test, but she said the doctor refused. So she turned to a private lab for a second test, this one a Western Blot, which doctors typically turn to next, to verify a positive ELISA result. That test was positive for the Lyme antibodies.
I sobbed, because there it was in my hands that I wasnt just jumping to conclusions, Tait said. I walked back into my doctors office and said, Here it is. They said, Well, we didnt do this test, so how do we know? I said, Youve got to be kidding me. I have a lab test!
Tait started getting treatment at a private clinic in Idaho that specializes in treating Lyme disease, about a six-hour drive from where she lives.
Lyme disease is typically treated with antibiotics, and when treated early, people with Lyme usually recover completely. Taits treatment plan included antibiotics, immunotherapy, various supplements as well as dietary changes. But because she had been sick for so long, some of her health problems were irreversible.
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What Is Chronic Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is considered chronic if the symptoms persist after 2 to 4 weeks of antibiotic treatment.
These lingering symptoms can range from fatigue, joint pain, extreme headaches to health and cognitive problems.
Unfortunately, there is still no definite reason why several people sustain Lyme disease symptoms even after treatment.
Others often disassociate these symptoms with Lyme disease because they mimic the same symptoms of other conditions.
Early And Later Stages Of Lyme Disease
In the early stages of Lyme disease, when the infection has not yet spread to the body, but only the place of tick bite is affected, one can see a red spot, with a circular rash all around it which is outwardly expanding. This is known as erythema migrans , which looks like a bulls eye. The rash is generally not painful. This type of rash is also known as target lesion. In this early infection stage, there can be muscle pain or soreness, fever and fatigue, and headaches. Rash is present in most of the cases, however, even if the rash is not present, the disease can still spread to the next stage.
In the later stages of Lyme disease, when the infection has just started to spread in the blood, the EM can develop at other places on the body, which has no direct connection with the original insect bite. Severe joint pain may start and may occur in bouts. Sometimes, a long period after the infection, people can get affected by symptoms like neck stiffness, which could be indicative of meningitis, facial palsy-on one or both sides of the face, weakness in the limbs and soreness and impairment of muscular function.
There are a few other symptoms of Lyme disease which are not very common, but can be witnessed by some affected persons. These might include irregular heartbeats, arrhythmia, and liver inflammation. Severe tiredness is seen in many affected persons.
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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?
Living With Lyme Disease
Most people treated in the early stages of Lyme disease make a quick and complete recovery. Some may experience symptoms for a few weeks after treatment. If you were treated for Lyme disease but you still dont feel well, call your family doctor. He or she can make sure there isnt something else wrong. They can help you find ways to ease your symptoms. Some patients have found relief with treatments typically used for chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.
Other things you can do to help manage Lyme disease include:
- Educate yourself.There is a lot of inaccurate information to be sorted through, especially on the internet. Ask your doctor if you have questions.
- Track your symptoms.Keep a diary of your sleep patterns, eating habits, exercise routines, and how youre feeling. You or your doctor may be able to make connections between them.
- Take care of yourself.Eat a healthy diet. Exercise as regularly as you can. Get plenty of rest.
Find support. It can be hard to not feel well and not know why. Some people may think your symptoms arent real. Talk to friends and family. If they cant offer support, talk with a counselor who can help you.
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Some Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms
As mentioned, chronic Lyme disease consists of a broad cluster of physical, cognitive, and psychiatric symptoms. Some of these symptoms are much more common, while others almost never occur, but can be deadly. But even the less severe symptoms, such as chronic fatigue and pain, can lead to drastic changes in quality of life for chronic Lyme patients.
Chronic Lyme survivors have reported experiencing the following symptoms for months to years after infection:
- Intermittent fevers, chills, and sweats
- Chronic inflammation
- Numbness and tingling in the limbs
- Dizziness and shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Multiple-chemical sensitivities
Chronic Lyme disease can be linked to deadly symptoms, such as Lyme carditis .
According to Lymedisease.org, studies consistently show that chronic Lyme disease patients have poorer quality of life than those with other chronic diseases. One of their own studies showed that 75% of surveyed patients reported at least one symptom as severe or very severe.