Chronic Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Adults
If Lyme disease is not diagnosed and treated early, the bacteria can spread or go into hiding in different parts of the body. That means the symptoms of Lyme disease can disappear for weeks, months, even years later, without treatment. It can then reappear at different times.
Even with treatment, some people suffer from chronic symptoms of Lyme disease. While the bacteria may have been eliminated from the body, its possible for some effects to linger.
Chronic or late stage symptoms of Lyme disease are similar to those of early stage Lyme disease. That being said, there are important differences.
People with chronic Lyme disease symptoms can develop problems with the heart, circulation, brain, nervous system, muscles, joints, digestive system, reproductive system, and skin. Other symptoms of chronic Lyme disease also include extreme fatigue and short-term memory loss.
Because many chronic Lyme disease symptoms occur in other diseases many of those suffering with chronic Lyme disease report being misdiagnosed with a different condition.
For early stages of Lyme disease, the treatment failure rate ranges from 16% to 39%. Estimates of misdiagnosis for those with chronic Lyme disease are much higher, ranging from 26% to 50%.
What If A Tick Bites My Dog
The more ticks in your region, the likelier it is that your furry pal will bring them home.
Your dog is much more likely to be bitten by a tick than you are. And where Lyme disease is common, up to 25% of dogs have had it at some point.
About 10% of dogs with Lyme disease will get sick. 7-21 days after a tick bite, your dog might seem like theyâre walking on eggshells. They also might have a fever and enlarged lymph nodes. Plus, they might seem tired. Dogs also get antibiotics for Lyme.
What if my dog brings ticks into my home?
Use a tick control product on your pet to prevent Lyme disease. Also, have your dog vaccinated against Lyme.
Check your dogâs whole body each day for bumps. If you notice a swollen area, see if thereâs a tick there. If you find a tick, wear gloves while you use tweezers to separate it from your dog. Then, put it in soapy water or alcohol, or flush it down the toilet.
Use alcohol to clean the spot on your dog where the tick was attached. Keep an eye on that spot, and also on your dog to make sure theyâre behaving normally. If you notice any changes, check with your vet.
John Aucott, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine director, Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: âVital Signs: Trends in Reported Vectorborne Disease Cases United States and Territories, 2004-2016.â
American College of Rheumatology.
How Can You Tell If You Have Lyme Disease Or Something Else
Lyme disease can be tricky to diagnose, given that the symptoms can mimic those of other illnesses, says Thomas Russo, M.D., professor and chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York. If you have the classic rash, you can probably assume you have Lyme disease, Dr. Russo says. But not all symptoms are classic and Lyme disease can mimic a variety of other things.
Still, your doctor can order blood tests, including an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test to look for antibodies to B. burgdorferi in your blood, the Mayo Clinic says. Another blood test, called a Western blot test, is usually given to confirm the diagnosis, per the Mayo Clinic.
Racial Differences In Incidence
Lyme disease is reported primarily in whites, although it occurs in individuals of all races. No genetic explanation is known for this the disparity most likely stems from social or environmental factors and possibly to the fact that erythema migrans is more difficult to diagnose in dark-skinned individuals.
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What To Do If You Have A Blacklegged Tick Bite
Remove the tick by pulling it directly out with fine-tipped tweezers. Lift upward with slow and even pressure. Dont twist when removing it. Dont crush it or put soap or other substances on it. Dont apply heat to it.
Place the tick in a resealable container. See if you can identify what kind of a tick it is.
Immediately after removing the tick, wash your skin well with soap and water or with rubbing alcohol.
Not all ticks carry Lyme. The Lyme bacteria is transmitted only by blacklegged ticks in their nymph or adult stage.
Save the tick to show your doctor. The doctor will want to determine if its a blacklegged tick and if theres evidence of feeding. Ticks enlarge as they feed. Your risk of getting Lyme from an infected tick increases with the length of time that the tick fed on your blood.
Pull the tick out with tweezers and save it in a resealable container for identification.
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Lyme Carditis: How Spirochetes Affect The Heart
In Lyme carditis, Borrelia burgdorferi directly affects the heart. Damage to the heart tissue occurs from the direct invasion by the bacteria, as well as from the bodys exaggerated immune response to the infection.
In 90% of cases, the most common consequence of Lyme carditis is heart block. Electrical signals from the upper chambers of the heart are not properly relayed to the lower chambers of the heart, which can dramatically slow down the heart rate.
The severity of the heart block can fluctuate rapidly and the progression to complete heart block can be fatal. Importantly, the heart block in Lyme carditis can be transient and usually resolves with antibiotic therapy. Additionally, Lyme carditis can affect other parts of the hearts conduction system, as well as the hearts muscle, valves, and outer layer of the heart wall.
Achy Stiff Or Swollen Joints
Joint pain and stiffness, often intermittent, are early Lyme symptoms. Your joints may be inflamed, warm to the touch, painful, and swollen. You may have stiffness and limited range of motion in some joints .
Pain may move around. Sometimes your knees may hurt, whereas other times its your neck or your heels. You may also have bursitis . Bursae are the thin cushions between bone and surrounding tissue.
The pain may be severe, and it may be transitory. More than one joint may be affected. Most often the large joints are involved .
People often attribute joint problems to age, genetics, or sports. Lyme should be added to that list, as these statistics indicate:
- One study estimates that 80 percent of people with untreated Lyme have muscle and joint symptoms .
- Fifty percent of people with untreated Lyme have intermittent episodes of arthritis .
- Two-thirds of people have their first episode of joint pain within six months of the infection .
- Use of anti-inflammatory drugs may mask the actual number of people with joint swelling .
Joint pain that comes and goes, or moves from joint to joint, could be a sign of Lyme.
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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Humans
What Blacklegged Ticks Look Like
Blacklegged ticks are small and hard to see. They attach themselves to humans and animals and feed on their blood. They can range in size depending on how long they have been feeding.
You can find out if its a blacklegged tick by:
- calling your local public health unit or checking their website
- submitting a photo of the tick to etick.ca
Adult female blacklegged tick at various stages of feeding. Photo: Government of Canada
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Treatment Of Lyme Carditis
Antibiotics treat Lyme disease, including carditis, when given in longer and stricter doses. Three weeks is usually the minimum time for antibiotic treatment. Lyme literate doctors know to ask patients about cardiac symptoms. They follow antibiotics with the most advanced treatments available. And they have the modern equipment to complete the treatment in their office.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, a temporary pacemaker may be needed to regulate heartbeats.
Communication About A Tick Bite
Its important to let a healthcare provider know you havent been feeling well and have been bit by a tick. Without this piece of information, it will take longer for them to treat your condition accurately.
Your healthcare provider will likely request an electrocardiogram to check your hearts electrical signals. This test will help them decide the severity of your particular case.
They may also request a blood draw to see if there is any indication of a tick bite. However, the lab tests are not always reliable.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease We Asked A Gp
Amy Schumer has revealed she has Lyme disease. Heres everything you need to know about the illness
US actress and comedian Amy Schumer has revealed that she was diagnosed with Lyme disease this summer.
The 39-year-old entertainer said she may have had the condition for years. Posting on Instagram, the mother-of-one told followers that she feel good but asked for advice about living with Lyme disease.
The caption, uploaded alongside a photo of the star as a child, read: Anyone get LYME this summer? I got it and Im on doxycycline. I have maybe had it for years. Any advice? Can you have a glass of wine or 2 on it?
Amy went on to explain: I know to stay out of the sun. Im also taking these herbs from cape cod called lyme-2. Please comment or text me on my number in my bio. I also want to say that I feel good and am excited to get rid of it.
But what actually is Lyme disease? What are the symptoms? And how is Lyme disease treated? We spoke to Dr Houda Ounnas, a GP at 9 Harley Street.
When To See Your Gp
You should contact your GP or dial NHS 111 promptly if you feel unwell with any of the symptoms described above after being bitten by a tick or after spending time in areas where ticks may live.
Take this leaflet with you if you are unsure what to say and remember to let your GP know if youve recently had a tick bite or spent time in areas where ticks may live.
Diagnosing Lyme disease can be difficult as many of the symptoms are similar to other conditions. A spreading erythema migrans rash appearing some days after a known tick bite is characteristic and should be treated with antibiotics.
If you dont have this rash but do have other symptoms of Lyme disease, blood tests can be carried out that look for antibodies against the borrelia bacteria.
Blood tests can be negative in the early stages of the infection as the antibodies take some time to reach levels that can be detected.
You may need to be re-tested if Lyme disease is still suspected 4 to 6 weeks after a first negative test result.
If you have long-lasting symptoms, you may be referred to a specialist in microbiology, infectious diseases, rheumatology, or neurology as appropriate for further investigation and management.
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History And Physical Examination
The clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease can be straightforward in patients with a history of tick exposure and the characteristic finding of an erythema migrans rash.12 The CDC has defined erythema migrans rash as an expanding red macule or papule that must reach at least 5 cm in size .11 According to the Infectious Diseases Society of America guidelines, erythema migrans rash is the only clinical manifestation sufficient to make the diagnosis of Lyme disease in the absence of laboratory confirmation.20 Although one study concluded that primary care physicians in a Lyme diseaseendemic area of France correctly identified erythema migrans in 72 percent of patients,22 the study was limited by lack of complete clinical information for the participants.
A number of conditions resemble erythema migrans however, the rapid and prolonged expansion of an erythematous lesion is unique to erythema migrans.11 Lesions most often occur at anatomic sites that are unusual for cellulitis and other conditions that mimic erythema migrans therefore, a complete skin examination should be performed before excluding erythema migrans.20
Lyme Carditis: A Cant Miss Diagnosis
ABSTRACT: Lyme disease, caused by the tick-borne spirochete bacterium Borrelia spp., is becoming increasingly prevalent in Canada. Lyme carditis is a rare but important early disseminated manifestation of the disease, which can present with high-degree atrioventricular block in otherwise healthy young adults. Timely treatment of Lyme carditis with appropriate antibiotics can lead to complete resolution. However, patients with Lyme carditis often have missed or late diagnoses, which can result in unnecessary pacemaker implantations, complications, and even fatalities. Considering Lyme carditis in the differential diagnosis of young patients presenting with new atrioventricular blocks is critical to ensuring timely diagnosis and treatment.
Clinicians should consider a diagnosis of Lyme carditis, an early manifestation of Lyme disease, if nonspecific cardiac symptoms have been preceded by flu-like symptoms and erythema migrans, especially if the patient is young, has no history of cardiac disease, and has recently traveled to an endemic area for Lyme disease.
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When To Call Your Doctor
If youve been bitten by a tick and have developed symptoms of Lyme disease, its important to call your doctor ASAP, Dr. Russo says. That should also be the case if you develop symptoms of Lyme disease but arent sure if you were recently bitten by a tick, he says.
And, if you happen to spot a tick on you and youre not sure how long its been attached, Dr. Zimring recommends calling your doctor as well. They can give you a prophylactic dose of antibiotics to try to lower your risk of developing Lyme disease if you act quickly, he says.
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What Are Lyme Disease Symptoms
Lyme disease can cause a slew of different symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , and you may experience different signs of the illness depending on how long its been since you were infected. These are the most common symptoms that can surface anywhere from three to 30 days after a tick bite, the CDC says:
Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
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Adults And Young People Aged 12 Years And Over
Discuss the diagnosis and management of Lyme disease in children and young people under 18 years with a specialist, unless they have a single erythema migrans lesion and no other symptoms, then treat as Lyme disease.
If an adult with Lyme disease has focal symptoms, consider a discussion with or referral to a specialist, without delaying treatment.
Lyme disease without focal symptoms
Erythema migrans and/or non-focal symptoms
- 200mg daily for 21 days
- Be aware of the risk of photosensitivity, patients should avoid exposure to direct sunlight
- 1g three times a day for 21 days
- 500mg daily for 17 days
- Do not use azithromycin to treat people with cardiac abnormalities associated with Lyme disease because of its effect on QT interval.
Lyme disease with focal symptoms
Affecting cranial nerves or peripheral nervous system
- 200mg daily for 21 days
- Be aware of the risk of photosensitivity, patients should avoid exposure to direct sunlight
- 1g three times a day for 21 days
Affecting the central nervous system
Admit to secondary care for consideration of intravenous ceftriaxone , via outpatient or home parenteral antibiotic therapy service where available . When patients are stabilised, a switch to oral doxycycline may be considered. Total antibiotic course length 21 days.
Lyme arthritis or acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans
- 1g three times a day for 28 days
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What Are Signs And Symptoms Of The Third Stage Of Lyme Disease
Late stage Lyme disease can result when treatment is unsuccessful or started too late due to unrecognized symptoms or misdiagnosis. The late disseminated stage occurs months or years after initial infection and can have a major impact on a patients health and quality of life. Late Lyme arthritis is a third stage Lyme disease manifestation that involves fluid accumulation and pain in joints, particularly in the knee joints. Late neurologic disease is a 3rd stage condition that can also be debilitating and difficult to diagnose. Late disseminated Lyme disease symptoms include a variety of symptoms that are often neurologic in origin including: numbness in extremities, mental fogginess and concentration problems, and difficulty following conversations or processing information.
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Reduce Ticks In Your Backyard
While many people used to believe you had to travel into a wooded area to come across ticks, many ticks are living right in their own backyard.
You can help reduce the possibility of ticks by ensuring that your lawn and property is not a suitable environment for ticks. Make sure your lawn is frequently mowed, trees and bushes trimmed to allow for sunlight and remove any weeds or brush from your yard. Remove any excess furniture and keep swing-sets and garbage away from wooded areas.
Additionally, you can create a barrier around your property of wooden chips or gravel to restrict tick movement and migration into the rest of your lawn.
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