Lyme disease symptoms may affect various body systems such as: the heart, skin, joints, and nervous system.
Lyme disease is a type of bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi. This disease is transmitted through a vector, which is a tick. Once bitten, an infection may cause symptoms similar to flu as well as joint pain and swelling. In worse cases, the nervous system may be affected causing dizziness, headaches, and other symptoms.
Lyme disease is transmitted through deer ticks. Different kinds of species of deer ticks that may cause the disease exist. They may vary depending on the area. An example of which is the Ixodes scapularis of the northeastern part of the United States. These ticks can be usually found in areas inhabited by deer. Ticks that carry the bacterium Borrealia burgdorferi can infect a human through bites.
The disease may begin with a red spot at the bitten site. The spot may last from days to several weeks. The red spot then expands to a circular-shaped rash which resembles a bull’s eye. The rash is the defining characteristic of Lyme disease and is called erythema migrans. The rash may continue to spread to various body parts.
Early diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease is very important. The delay or absence of treatment can lead to worsening of the condition. Untreated cases of the disease can lead to complications such as: paralysis, nerve inflammation, swelling, or chronic arthritis. Individuals with tick bites accompanied by headache, muscle aches, fever, rashes, and other symptoms of Lyme Disease should seek medical can tick bite as possible.
Lyme Disease Symptoms
Lyme disease affects various body systems such as: the heart, skin, joints, and the nervous systems. The severity of the disease can be classified into three stages. Each stage may have different symptoms. Not all people affected with the disease experience all three stages. Some may only experience the first stage depending on the promptness of the treatment.
On the first stage of the disease, a circular rash may appear on the bitten area, usually within the first and second week of infection. This is the initial sign of infection but not all individuals with the disease develop one. The rash usually resembles a “bull’s-eye”. It has a red spot on the center and is surrounded by skin and then another circular red rash that appears like a ring. The bitten area is often warm when touched. It is not itchy or painful. The rash may not be very visible in people with dark skin tone. The rash may disappear after weeks or a month.
Lyme disease symptoms on the second stage of the disease may involve flu-like symptoms, which includes: muscles aches, headaches, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms may disappear without treatment. In some cases, the infection worsens and spreads to other body parts. The symptoms experienced in this stage may appear after several weeks of the bite. It may also appear even if the individual hasn’t experienced the bull’s eye rash. However, others may have the rash spreading throughout their body at this stage.
If the heart is affected, chest pain and irregular heart beat may be experienced. Furthermore, facial paralysis or Bell’s palsy may occur if the nervous system is affected. Other symptoms involving the nervous system includes: numbness in the legs and arms. It may also cause signs similar to meningitis like stiffness in the neck and headache.
The last stage of Lyme disease may only occur if proper diagnosis and treatment are not made. Symptoms of Lyme Disease on this stage may appear after several weeks or even years. Symptoms may include arthritis and other joint problems.
Lyme Disease Diagnosis
Early diagnosis of Lyme disease is important so that treatment may be stated early. This is to avoid or lessen the complications that may happen. When Lyme disease symptoms occur, the physician may require a blood test for antibodies to the bacteria. However, this may not be very much necessary in the early stages of the disease. ELISA is the most common diagnostic exam used for Lyme disease and is confirmed by western blot test.
Physical examination may also be necessary to examine the joints, and brain or heart problems, which usually occur in the late stage of the disease.
Lyme Disease Treatment
Treatment of Lyme disease in its early stage is important to prevent the disease from getting worse. Lyme disease symptoms may be relieved by pain and anti-inflammatory medications. However, for the treatment to be effective, the main cause should be treated. Lyme disease is usually treated through antibiotic therapy. The patient may recover rapidly, although there is still a possibility of the disease to reoccur at its late stage. To lessen the risk of recurrence, it is important to follow the treatment regime precisely. Lyme disease is treated with antibiotic medications such as: Amoxicillin, Cefuroxime, and Doxycycline.
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