Lyme Disease Symptoms

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease and the treatments for it.

In 1975 Lyme disease got its name when two mothers, in Lyme and East Haddam Connecticut, contacted the health department because they were alarmed at the many cases

of arthritis in children in their area. "Lyme arthritis" as it was named by researchers from Yale was discovered in 39 children and 12 adults. This same illness, although not formally named until 1975, was observed in the 1800s.

In 1981 the bacteria which passes the disease via the bite of a tick was isolated by Willy Burgdorfer at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories. It was named "Borrelia burgdorfere" (Bb) after the man who discovered it.



The most common carriers of this disease are the black-legged tick, the Western black-legged tick and the lone-star tick. Interestingly, more than half of the people that suffer from this illness do not remember being bitten by a tick. A person may be bitten by a tick that is in the larvae or the nymph stage, and is no larger the period at the end of a sentence. There is a rash associated with Lyme disease called Erythema Migrans, or simply, EM. It can be circular, oval or bullseye shape. However, many people who have contracted Lyme may not have the rash or may have overlooked it.

The states that are listed as "endemic" areas for Lyme disease are New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Minnesota and California.

Lyme disease is another one of those ailments that is hard to diagnose. It is often misdiagnosed as MS, Lupus, Lou Gherig's Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and a few other conditions. On the average someone who has Lyme disease will have seen five different doctors before getting the correct diagnosis. The only single symptom that can be recognized is the EM rash. Many of the tests for Lyme can be unreliable. If a patient is taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen, or antibiotics, the test results may be skewed. However, once a positive diagnosis is determined the primary treatment is antibiotics, administered either orally intravenously.

There are many factors that will determine the type of antibiotics to be used and what the dosage will be. Doctors are not totally in agreement about how long they should continue a patient on the antibiotics, however in the disease's later stages the dosage is usually a higher dose and for a longer period of time. However, if LD is diagnosed early and treated with antibiotics it is almost always cured. In its later stages it can also be treated effectively, but due to the differences in people and how fast the disease spreads through the body the treatment varies with each patient.

Symptoms List For The Various Stages of Lyme Disease

The following is a checklist of common symptoms seen in various stages of LD:

Localized Early (Acute) Stage:

· Solid red or bull's-eye rash, usually at site of bite

· Swelling of lymph glands near tick bite

· Generalized achiness

· Headache

Early Disseminated Stage:

· Two or more rashes not at site of bite

· Migrating pains in joints/tendons

· Headache

· Stiff, aching neck

· Facial palsy (facial paralysis similar to Bell's palsy)

· Tingling or numbness in extremities

· Multiple enlarged lymph glands

· Abnormal pulse

· Sore throat

· Changes in vision

· Fever of 100 to 102 F

· Severe fatigue

Late Stage:

· Arthritis (pain/swelling) of one or two large joints

· Disabling neurological disorders (disorientation; confusion; dizziness; short-term memory loss; inability to concentrate, finish sentences or follow conversations; mental "fog")

· Numbness in arms/hands or legs/feet.¹

1. American Lyme Disease Foundation,"What Is Lyme Disease"

www.aldf.com September 2000.

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