Can You Get Help For Chronic Lyme Disease
We already discussed that Lyme disease is most easily diagnosed and treated in the early stage, but what about when it has evolved into a more serious, chronic condition? No matter how long youve been living with symptoms of Lyme disease, you should seek immediate treatment from a Lyme disease specialist.
The first goal is to discover the root cause of your discomfort. While a doctor may have given you a diagnosis like fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome in the past, if youre still feeling under the weather and notice your symptoms are getting worse despite treatment, you may not have the full picture. A proper diagnosis of Lyme disease is the first step to getting the help you need, and a getting a negative test result in the past does not mean you havent had Lyme disease all along.
With late-stage Lyme disease, your holistic doctor can develop a long-term, customized treatment plan that looks fully at all your symptoms and takes your health as a whole into account. Lyme disease is a complex disease, and your recovery depends on many factors including your diet, sleep patterns, water cleanliness, microbe levels, toxin exposure, hormone levels, and more. With an integrative physician like Dr. Robin Ridinger, this can mean a combination of natural supplements and therapies, antibiotics, hormone therapy, immunotherapy and more.
How Is Lyme Disease Treated
With early-stage Lyme disease, youâll take antibiotics for about 10 days to 3 weeks. The most common ones are amoxicillin, cefuroxime, and doxycycline. The antibiotics will almost always cure your infection. If they donât, you might get other antibiotics either by mouth or as a shot.
If you donât treat your Lyme infection, you might need oral antibiotics for symptoms like weakened face muscles and irregular heartbeat. You may need antibiotics if you have meningitis, inflammation in your brain and spinal cord, or more severe heart problems.
If your Lyme is late stage, the doctor might give you antibiotics either by mouth or as a shot. If it causes arthritis, youâll get arthritis treatment.
Thereâs no therapy for post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.
Which Antibiotics Are Best For Earlier Stages Of Lyme Disease
Most doctors agree that it is necessary to be aggressive when treating Lyme disease in the early stages. A common antibiotic used in treatment is Doxycycline. This medicine is strong and effective and often used with Lyme disease, streptococcus, cholera, and respiratory infections.
In fighting Lyme disease, this medicine breaks up the proteins created by dangerous bacteria. Your doctor may prefer to administer antibiotics via intravenous methods.
In the second stage, you may want to introduce alternative treatments like therapeutic apheresis and plasmapheresis, essentially exchanging infected blood for healthy, donated blood. Processes like these can take place in the third stage of Lyme also.
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Complementary And Alternative Therapies
You should never treat Lyme disease with complementary therapies alone. Only proper antibiotic treatment can cure the disease and avoid complications.
Newsletters and Internet sites have cropped up in recent years advertising untested treatments to people with symptoms of post-Lyme disease syndrome or so-called “chronic Lyme disease” who are frustrated with standard medical treatment. Some remedies may be dangerous and ineffective. Always tell all of your doctors about the herbs and supplements you are using or considering using.
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.
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How Do You Prevent Lyme Disease
Prevention of Lyme disease involves preventing ticks from attaching to the skin:
- Wear protective clothing.
- Clothing may be pre-treated with permethrin .
- Use a tick repellent or tick-killing product. Insect repellents containing the active ingredients DEET, IR3535, or picaridin can help prevent tick bites.
- Inspect clothes and skin for ticks when coming in from the outdoors.
- Put clothes in a dryer after being outdoors to help kill ticks.
- Shower immediately after potential tick exposure .
If you live in an area where the ticks that carry Lyme disease are endemic
- install a tall fence to keep out deer, who carry the ticks
- keep lawns trimmed and
The Cdc Estimates That There Are Up To 300000 Cases Of Confirmed And Unconfirmed Lyme Disease Infections Per Year In The United States
Did you know that there are three stages of Lyme disease? Each stage happens after a particular passage of time following a bite from an infected tick. Though there are about 30,000 confirmed cases of Lyme in the U.S. each year, experts predict that most cases go unconfirmed. Lyme can be difficult to diagnose. Lyme can also lie dormant in the first two stages, only showing symptoms months or years after a tick bite.
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Stage : Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
Early disseminated Lyme disease occurs several weeks to months after the tick bite.
Youll have a general feeling of being unwell, and a rash may appear in areas other than the tick bite.
This stage of the disease is primarily characterized by evidence of systemic infection, which means infection has spread throughout the body, including to other organs.
Symptoms can include:
- disturbances in heart rhythm, which can be caused by Lyme carditis
- neurologic conditions, such as numbness, tingling, facial and cranial nerve palsies, and meningitis
The symptoms of stages 1 and 2 can overlap.
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.
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Stage 3 Lyme Disease Signs
Stage 3 Lyme Disease is called late disseminated Lyme disease and the bacteria has spread throughout the body.
Stage 3 Lyme Disease Signs involves symptoms in various organs. Symptoms may include arthritis of one or multiple large joints , confusion, short-term memory loss, inflammation of the heart, inflammation of tissue surrounding the brain, and numbness in the hands, legs and feet. For some patients, symptoms persist for months or years.
Symptoms Of Late Stage Lyme Disease
The CDC reports that late stage Lyme disease may appear days to months after the initial tick bite and may include but are not limited to:
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Additional EM rashes in new places on the body
- Facial palsy, also known as Bells palsy paralysis of one side of the face
- Arthritis or joint pain and swelling, especially of large joints
- Intermittent tendon, muscle, joint, nerve, or bone pain
- Heart palpitations or arrhythmia
- Dizziness or shortness of breath
- Inflammation of the brain or spinal cord
- Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
As mentioned above, late stage Lyme may also be characterized by the recurrence of early stage symptoms, such as fatigue.
Symptoms Check Out? Get Tested. Get Answers.
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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:
- skin rash, which may or may not look like a bulls eye
- flu-like illness, including chills and fever
- muscle soreness and joint pain
- swollen lymph nodes
- sore throat
Stage 2: Early Disseminated Lyme
Early disseminated Lyme may occur several weeks or months after the tick bite. Bacteria are beginning to spread throughout the body. In addition to flu-like symptoms, this stage is often characterized by increase in symptoms such as:
- pain, weakness or numbness in the arms, legs
- vision changes
- heart problems, such as palpitations, chest pain
- rash may appear on body
- facial paralysis
Stage 3: Late Disseminated Lyme Disease
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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.
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Postexposure Prophylaxis For Lyme Disease
- Although controversial, post-exposure prophylaxis may be considered for patients who meet all of the following criteria:
- The attached tick can be identified as an adult or nymphal Ixodes scapularistick.
- The tick has been attached for 36 hours .
- Prophylaxis can be started within 72 hours of tick removal.
- The local rate of tick infection with B. burgdorferi is 20% .
- The patient can take doxycycline .
When Should You See A Doctor If You Think You Have Lyme
The rash is a pretty good indication that you may have been bitten. Take a photo of the rash and see your doctor. At this stage, treatment with antibiotics will probably work.
If you don’t have the rash but have symptoms like fatigue, fever, and headache but no respiratory symptoms like a cough, you may want to talk to your doctor.
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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.
How Long Does Neurological Lyme Disease Last
These symptoms can include fatigue, joint or muscle aches, and cognitive dysfunction. They may last up to six months or longer. These symptoms can interfere with a person’s normal activities and may cause emotional distress as a result. However, most people’s symptoms improve after six months to a year.
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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
The Stages Of Lyme Disease
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis, is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Borrelia. The bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii are responsible for Lyme disease in North America. In Europe and Asia, Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii are responsible for Lyme disease. The bacteria is spread to humans via the bite of an infected tick, usually a black-legged tick .
Stages of Lyme disease
Lyme disease is categorized into three stages: early localized Lyme disease, early disseminated Lyme disease, and late disseminated Lyme disease. Symptoms depend on the stage of the disease.
Stage 1: Early localized Lyme disease
Early localized Lyme disease can occur anywhere from 3 to 30 days after the tick bite. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Red, bulls-eye type rash, otherwise known as erythema migrans, appears at the site of the tick bite.
- The rash is warm to the touch but is typically not itchy or painful.
- The rash can reach up to 12 inches in diameter.
- The rash disappears after 4 weeks.
Stage 2: Early disseminated Lyme disease
Early disseminated Lyme disease can develop days to weeks after a tick bite. Symptoms of stage 1 and stage 2 can overlap. Stage 2 is characterized by flu-like symptoms, including the following:
- Rash, which may appear in other areas
- Neurological symptoms, such as numbness and tingling
- Bells palsy
- Heart palpitations or chest pain
- Shortness of breath
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Stage : Early Localized Disease
Symptoms of Lyme disease usually start 1 to 2 weeks after the tick bite. One of the earliest signs of the disease is a bulls-eye rash.
The rash occurs at the site of the tick bite, usually, but not always, as a central red spot surrounded by a clear spot with an area of redness at the edge. It may be warm to the touch, but it isnt painful and doesnt itch. This rash will gradually fade in most people.
The formal name for this rash is erythema migrans. Erythema migrans is said to be characteristic of Lyme disease. However, many people dont have this symptom.
Some people have a rash thats solid red, while people with dark complexions may have a rash that resembles a bruise.
The rash can occur with or without systemic viral or flu-like symptoms.
Other symptoms commonly seen in this stage of Lyme disease include:
Early Disseminated Stage Of Lyme Disease
In this second stage of Lyme disease, disseminating begins and can last up to four months or longer. Dissemination means the disease starts to spread. When the infection spreads, that means more body parts can be affected by Lyme.
In the early dissemination phase, you can feel all of the first stage symptoms like aches and pains in the joints and muscles, fatigue that feels overwhelming, and the appearance of more rashes anywhere on your body.
You may also notice tingling or numbness in your arms or legs. You may feel so weak that it is hard for you to function physically. Some stage-specific characteristics include numbness on one side of your face, like Bells Palsy. Or, rashes in your eye like Pink Eye or styes.
Other symptoms include fainting, heart palpitations, Meningitis-like headaches or swelling in the brain, encephalopathy or mental confusion, and skin patches that become discolored.
Lyme disease can progress to a third stage called late disseminated Lyme disease if not correctly diagnosed or started on antibiotics during the first or second stages.
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