Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis among medical fraternity, is in reality a bacterial infection. Lyme disease spreads in people through the bites of infected ticks. Lyme disease can normally be addressed efficiently if it is really diagnosed early. However, if it isn’t dealt with or there’s a delay in treatment then the risk increases that you might get severe and long-lasting symptoms.
Who doesn’t know what ticks are? We all have seen a tick once in a while in our life. These are small and spider-like things which are generally found in forests or similar places. They consume blood of humans, mammals and even birds. Ticks that carry the Lyme disease causing bacteria can be found all over Australia and in some other continents also.
It is important to visit an expert Lyme disease doctor soon after you are bitten by a tick or if you’re experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease.
The first symptoms of Lyme disease, which develop within a few days of the tick bite, are flu-like symptoms, such as muscle pain, fever, weakness, headache and stiff neck. A few days after the tick bite almost 60% of lighter skinned patients have an enlarging skin rash called a “bulls-eye” rash, or EM rash.
Lyme disease can cause a very wide variety of symptoms, and can mimic many other illnesses. This is because the Borrelia bacteria that cause Lyme disease can affect every organ in the body, including the heart, brain, muscles, joints, liver and skin.
If left untreated, Lyme disease can affect the nervous system (causing fatigue, headaches, brain fog, sensitivity to light, dizziness and difficulty thinking clearly), the heart (causing abnormal heart rhythms and low blood pressure), the muscles and joints (causing muscle and joint pains), and the gut, causing a variety of stomach symptoms.
Lyme disease can cause symptoms quite similar to serious neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease.
Testing for Lyme disease needs to be done in a specialised laboratory, as the testing done in most Australian laboratories is not sensitive enough to pick up most cases of Lyme disease.
Because Lyme disease is a bacterial infection, the main treatment is antibiotics. Antibiotic treatment may need to be continued for up to three years. Most Lyme specialists use other treatments in conjunction with the antibiotics, such as herbal medicines and nutritional supplements.
Most patients with Lyme disease also have several so-called “co-infections”. This is because the ticks that carry the Borrelia bacteria that cause Lyme disease often carry other bacteria, such as Babesia, Bartonella, Chlamydia, Mycoplasma, Ricksettia and Ehrlichia. These co-infections also need antibiotic treatment.
Lyme specialists suspects that the disease can be carried not only by ticks, but by other arthropods such as fleas, sandflies and bedbugs.
Additional diagnosis and examinations are quite important to check Lyme disease as its pathogenesis (the system by which it occurs) is not entirely recognised. Doctors often find it difficult to diagnose this infection as it has symptoms that are similar to other common diseases.
You’ll be surprised to see the long list of problems that are caused by Lyme disease. Visit a Lyme disease specialist in Sydney to get the best Lyme disease treatment in Australia.
Let’s take a look at the problems which might occur due to Lyme disease. The list is divided into signs and symptoms which appear on different body parts.
- Problems Which Occur In Head, Face And Neck
Facial paralysis (Bell’s palsy), migraines, stiff neck, headaches, itchiness in cheek, nose or facial area, swollen glands, increased allergic sensitivities, sore throat, change in taste and smell, stiffness and pain in jaw, twitching of muscles.
- Problems Which Occur In Digestive System
Vomiting, nausea, upset tummy, irritable bladder, anorexia, loss of appetite, weight loss or gain due to unknown reasons.
- Problems Which Occur In Eye Or Vision
Oversensitivity towards light, red eyes, pain or swelling around eyes, vertigo, wandering eye, vision changes, spots in sight, double or blurry vision, and in some cases conjunctivitis also.
- Problems Which Occur In Ears
Extreme Pain in ears, sound sensitivity, buzzing or ringing sound in ears, decreased hearing power.
- Problems Which Occur In Musculoskeletal System
Muscle ache or cramps, pain, stiffness, or swelling in joints, muscle weakness, loss of reflexes, poor muscle coordination, loss of muscle tone.
- Problems Which Occur In Respiratory Systems
Issues in breathing respiration, unexplained chills, night sweats, irregular heartbeat, and decreased tolerance to physical exercise, upper body pain or rib soreness.
- Problems Which Occur In Psychiatric Systems
Depression, anxiety, agitation, irritability, mood swings, impulsiveness, malaise, aggressive behaviour, change in personality, Bipolar disorder or manic behaviour, suicidal thoughts, difficulty in falling or staying asleep, hallucinations, paranoia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, suspiciousness, feeling as if the patient is losing his/her mind or self control, schizophrenic-like condition, including hallucinations, overemotional reactions to situations and feel like crying even on small issues, sleeping either too much or too little.
- Problems Which Occur In Neurologic System
Seizures, stroke, burning sensation in feet, Meningitis, Encephalitis, weakness or paralysis of limbs, Difficulty in multitasking, slow processing speed, burning or stabbing sensations in the body, Encephalomyelitis, Increased motion sickness, problem in walking, dizziness, poor balance, light-headedness, problem in word finding, auditory problem in process, problem in organisation and planning, academic or vocational fall, shaking, pinpricks and numbness in body.
- Problems Which Occur On Skin
Erethyma Migrans (bulls’ eye rash), eczema, odd odours, tumour-like nodules, high perspiration.
- Some Cognitive Signs And Symptoms
Distractibility, attention deficit issues, dementia, disorientation or feeling lost, difficulty in thinking and always confused, poor performance in school or office, short or long term memory loss, forgetfulness, finding it difficult to concentrate.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
- Many individuals who are suffering from an early-phase of Lyme disease create a unique circular rash at the body part where the tick has bitten, typically around in 7 to 30 days immediately after the bite has been made. This rash is called as erythema migrans.
- The rash usually looks like a bull’s-eye on the board. The afflicted part of skin or body becomes red, also the edges of the area where rash has developed might be slightly lifted.
- The dimensions of the rash may be different in every patient considerably and it may even broaden after a few days or weeks. Generally, the rash is about six inches (15cm) in size, but it can also become larger or smaller in size. A lot of people may possibly get quite a few rashes in different body areas.
- However, one in every three individuals who are suffering from Lyme disease might not develop the bull’s-eye rash.
- Some individuals with Lyme disease may encounter flu-like signs or symptoms within the early phases, which include fever, headaches, fatigue, tiredness, joint pain, muscle pain and neck stiffness.
Later Signs Or Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
If Lyme disease is not treated early then some of its symptoms might even take months to appear. However, majority of serious signs and symptoms start creating trouble within a few weeks of tick bite. Some of later and more serious Lyme disease symptoms are:
- Heart problems
- Inflammatory arthritis (discomfort and swelling in the joints)
- Issues arising that may affect nervous system
It’s believed that near about 2000 to 4000 Lyme disease cases are reported in different parts of Australia every year. However, many Australians get infected with Lyme disease when they are travelling to other places such as North America and Europe. There are possibly thousands of undiagnosed cases of Lyme disease in Australia.