Ongoing Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
A few people who are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease continue to have symptoms, like tiredness, aches and loss of energy, that can last for years.
These symptoms are often compared to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
It’s not clear why this happens to some people and not others. This means there’s also no agreed treatment.
Speak to a doctor if your symptoms come back, or do not improve, after treatment with antibiotics.
The doctor may be able to offer you further support if needed, such as:
- referral for a care needs assessment
- telling your employer, school or higher education institution that you require a gradual return to activities
- communicating with children and families’ social care
Page last reviewed: 05 July 2021 Next review due: 05 July 2024
Diagnosis Testing And Treatment
You may have heard that the blood test for Lyme disease is correctly positive only 65% of the time or less. This is misleading information. As with serologic tests for other infectious diseases, the accuracy of the test depends upon how long youve been infected. During the first few weeks of infection, such as when a patient has an erythema migrans rash, the test is expected to be negative.
Several weeks after infection, FDA cleared tests have very good sensitivity.
It is possible for someone who was infected with Lyme disease to test negative because:
If you are pregnant and suspect you have contracted Lyme disease, contact your physician immediately.
- Report being bitten by a tick, or
- Live in, or have recently visited, a tick-infested area.
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,
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Diagnosing And Treating Chronic Ebv
To help identify chronic EBV, start by ruling out infectious mononucleosis. By definition, IM is an acute infection with EBV alone, and there are antiviral agents that work extremely well for IM and other acute infections of herpes-type viruses, so its worth doing testing to define IM over reactivated EBV.
Testing for IM looks for antibodies to the virus the presence of different types of antibodies can distinguish between IM and reactivated EBV. But testing for IM isnt always straightforward mononucleosis-like syndromes can also occur with other herpesviruses , other viruses , and a protozoan called Toxoplasma gondii. In other words, many different viruses can cause viral syndromes similar to EBV.
If you have all the symptoms of chronic reactivated EBV, then the likelihood of EBV being present is quite high, along with other microbes. However, antivirals have shown to be an ineffective treatment for chronic EBV.
Scientists have sorted out the technical reason for this. Antiviral agents work by blocking DNA polymerase, an enzyme the virus uses to replicate inside cells. Latent or chronic EBV infection, however, does not require DNA polymerase for the virus to replicate therefore, current antiviral agents are ineffective against chronic EBV infection.
Researchers are also looking at vaccines against EBV. The problem is that the characteristics of the virus vary greatly across different geographical areas, making it difficult to create a single vaccine.
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.
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Science Behind Dogs And Lyme Disease
Once the bacteria get into the dog’s bloodstream, it is carried to most parts of the body and particularly affects the joints.
If your dog tests positive for Lyme disease, this does not mean your dog has a death sentence. Most dogs will be treated at home with a series of antibiotics. The most common medication is Doxycycline, but there are other medication options as well.
Treatment plans generally run four weeks and sometimes longer depending on how tricky the case is to cure. Your dog may also get an antiinflammatory for the time to help with any pain and swelling in the joints.
Reactivated Ebv Can Become Chronic
Chronic, reactivated EBV is an amped-up version of mononucleosis, with a range of symptoms, including:
- Profound fatigue
- Irritated mucous membranes
- Swollen lymph nodes
Reactivated EBV can also cause a host of debilitating neurological symptoms. The symptoms can wax and wane for years, and severe cases can involve liver dysfunction, immune suppression, and even anemia.
The most plausible explanation for why chronic, reactivated EBV is so severe and unrelenting is that its not just EBV at play. For instance, people often carry other herpesviruses in addition to EBV. The list includes herpes simplex types 1 and 2 , varicella-zoster virus , cytomegalovirus , HHV-6 types a and b, HHV-7, and HHV-8.
Though theyre all related, each of these viruses infects the body in a different way therefore, they cause slightly different symptom profiles. In important ways, theyre all remarkably prevalent and share a common characteristic: They stay dormant in tissues and can be reactivated just like EBV. So if the disruption of a persons immune functions allows the reactivation of multiple herpesviruses at once, symptoms can be severe and highly variable.
How Do I Remove A Tick
You should know how to remove a tick just in case one lands on you or a friend. To be safe, remove the tick as soon as possible.
If you find a tick:
- Use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth, next to your skin.
- Pull firmly and steadily on the tick until it lets go of the skin. If part of the tick stays in your skin, don’t worry. It will eventually come out. But call your doctor if you notice any irritation in the area or symptoms of Lyme disease.
- Swab the bite site with alcohol.
Note: Don’t use petroleum jelly or a lit match to kill a tick. They won’t get the tick off your skin quickly enough, and may just cause it to burrow deeper into your skin.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can affect different body systems, such as the nervous system, joints, skin, and heart. The symptoms of Lyme disease are often described as happening in three stages. Not everyone with Lyme has all of these, though:
The rash sometimes has a “bull’s-eye” appearance, with a central red spot surrounded by clear skin that is ringed by an expanding red rash. It also can appear as an growing ring of solid redness. It’s usually flat and painless, but sometimes can be warm to the touch, itchy, scaly, burning, or prickling. The rash may look and feel very different from one person to the next. It can be harder to see on people with darker skin tones, where it can look like a bruise. It gets bigger for a few days to weeks, then goes away on its own. A person also may have flu-like symptoms such as fever, tiredness, headache, and muscle aches.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Generally speaking, symptoms of Lyme disease can be difficult to detect, especially in the early stages. Most animals infected with Lyme disease will show signs of lameness due to an inflammation of their joints. This lameness usually affects one of the legs but can reoccur in the same limb or switch to a different one later on.
In severe Lyme disease cases, some dogs can develop heart and kidney disease, as well as problems with their nervous system if the disease is left untreated.
Other common symptoms of Lyme Disease in dogs include:
- Arched back and a stiff walk
Testing For Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease spread by ticks can be diagnosed with a simple blood tests in your veterinarian’s clinic. The C6 test is very sensitive and specific at diagnosing cases of Lyme disease and depending on clinical signs and concurrent results, treatment may be started immediately. If treatment has been successful, reductions in the QC6 at six months should be lower than the starting point.
What Are The Side Effects Of Lyme Disease Treatments
Antibiotics, like all medications, have the potential for side effects. Any antibiotic can cause skin rashes, and if an itchy red rash develops while on antibiotics, a patient should see their physician. Sometimes symptoms worsen for the first few days on an antibiotic. This is called a Herxheimer reaction and occurs when the antibiotics start to kill the bacteria. In the first 24 to 48 hours, dead bacterial products stimulate the immune system to release inflammatory cytokines and chemokines that can cause increased fever and achiness. This should be transient and last no more than a day or two after the initiation of antibiotics.
The most common side effect of the penicillin antibiotics is diarrhea, and occasionally even serious cases caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile. This bacterial overgrowth condition occurs because antibiotics kill the good bacteria in our gut. It can be helpful to use probiotics to restore the good bacteria and microbiome balance.
How I Stopped Chasing A Cureand Healed From Lyme Disease
At 28 years old, and after years of suffering from medical issues that no doctor across the U.S. could unravel, I was finally given a name to the condition that had taken almost my entire life away: late-stage Lyme disease.
I took my diagnosis like an over-sized bag of groceries at the checkout stand, wrapped my arms around as best I could, and set off to get a cure and get back to life.
But it didnt work seamlessly. It didnt work easily. It really didnt work at all.
I tried treatment after treatment trying to save my young life. With some treatments, I saw massive improvement, only later to rebound in ways that deflated me again.
But I continued searching with inner chaos, ruled by fear. I feared I was missing the cure, not choosing the right treatments, not looking in the right places.
I went on marathon internet searches, talked to everyone I could find with Lyme disease, and was in a constant state of panic that my broken body would never be put back together again.
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 Is The Staging For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is categorized into three stages:
- Localized: Occurs within several days of the tick bite. Symptoms include redness and irritation at the site of the tick bite, along with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, and muscle aches.
- Disseminated: Occurs within weeks of a tick bite. If untreated, the infection spreads to other parts of the body and new symptoms occur.
- Persistent: Late infection, may occur within months to years after the initial tick bite. Arthritis and neurological symptoms are common in this stage.
Will Lyme Disease Go Away On Its Own
When you suspect youve been bitten by a tick, its important to schedule an appointment with Dr. Constantine Kotsanis at the Kotsanis Institute of Functional Medicine in Grapevine, TX. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause memory loss, nerve damage, inflammation around the heart, chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and other serious and long-term heart issues. The good news is that Lyme disease is also very treatable, especially when symptoms are caught early. Dr. Kotsanis can use a series of medications that have been proven to rid the body of the infection successfully.
Signs Of A Dog With Lyme Disease
However, if your dog does begin to show signs of Lyme disease, you may begin to notice your dog limping on one leg one day, and then another day they will limp on the other leg. This is due to inflammation of the joints and the pain from that often shifts. Your dogs may also have a lack of appetite, they may be losing weight, they might pee and drink more water than normal, and they may vomit and very loose stools.
Furthermore, your dog may also walk with an arched back or like they are very stiff, have a sensitivity to touch, fever, depression, trouble breathing, abnormal heartbeat and nervous system complications – although these are very rare.
Your pooch may also feel very lethargic and tired all the time and just not be acting like their normal, happy, and energetic selves.
- Lameness in legs that shifts
Testing For Kidney Disease
Tests to diagnose kidney disease include complete blood count, serum biochemistry, and urinalysis. These blood tests will determine if your pet is anemic, determine white blood cell counts, measure blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and electrolytes. A urinalysis is essential for the proper interpretation of the urea and creatinine values in the serum biochemistry profile and may also provide important clues to the possible underlying cause of kidney disease. A urinalysis will also determine the specific gravity, pH, presence of blood in the urine, and the amount of protein in the urine. An evaluation of the urine sediment will determine the presence of red blood cells, white blood cells, bacteria, crystalline material, and cellular casts all of which provide information to determine the underlying cause of kidney disease in your pet. Further diagnostic tests may be recommended based on the results of these initial screening tests.
Ebv: A Common Human Herpesvirus
EBV has swept across the globe, and its much more common than you might imagine: more than 95% of the worlds population has been infected with it. EBV is a herpes-type virus, and its a close relative of genital herpes. Known technically as human herpesvirus 4 , its #4 on the list of nine different herpes-type viruses that can infect humans.
Herpesviruses are composed of strands of DNA inside an envelope. After initial infection, theyll lie dormant in your tissues indefinitely. In other words, if youve ever been infected with a herpesvirus like EBV, youll carry it with you for life, however, the virus can reactivate if immune system functions become depressed.