Saturday, August 19, 2017

Lyme Disease Symptoms

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Category: Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, and it can infect various areas of the body. Because of this, lyme disease can cause different symptoms at different times. Not all people exhibit all the symptoms of lyme disease, but the first sign of lyme disease infection is often a circular rash called erythema migrans (EM). Other symptoms include fever, headache, and fatigue.

Erythema migrans occurs in about 75 percent of infected persons and begins at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3-30 days. A distinctive feature of the rash is that it gradually expands over a period of several days, reaching up to 12 inches (30 cm) across. The center of the rash may clear as it enlarges, resulting in a bull’s-eye appearance. It may be warm but is not usually painful. Some patients develop additional EM lesions in other areas of the body after several days. Patients also experience symptoms of fatigue, chills, fever, headache, and muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. In some cases, these may be the only symptoms of infection.

Untreated, the infection may spread to other parts of the body within a few days to weeks, producing an array of discrete symptoms. These include loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of the face (called facial or “Bell’s palsy), severe headaches and neck stiffness due to meningitis, shooting pains that may interfere with sleep, heart palpitations and dizziness due to changes in heartbeat, and pain that moves from joint to joint. Many of these symptoms will resolve, even without treatment.

After several months, approximately 60% of patients with untreated infection will begin to have intermittent bouts of arthritis, with severe joint pain and swelling. Large joints are most often affected, particularly the knees. In addition, up to 5% of untreated patients may develop chronic neurological complaints months to years after infection. These include shooting pains, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, and problems with concentration and short term memory.

Most cases of Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics, especially if treatment is begun early in the course of illness. However, a small percentage of patients with Lyme disease have symptoms that last months to years after treatment with antibiotics. These symptoms can include muscle and joint pains, arthritis, cognitive defects, sleep disturbance, or fatigue. The cause of these symptoms is not known. There is some evidence that they result from an autoimmune response, in which a person’s immune system continues to respond even after the infection has been cleared.

If you suspect you have lyme disease you should contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Source: CDC

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One Response to “Lyme Disease Symptoms”
  1. Kathrine says:

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