The Truth Behind Lyme Disease

The Truth Behind Lyme Disease

The black-legged tick has been causing harm across America, affecting thousands of lives. The tick harbors a dangerous bacterium known as Borreliaburgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a well-known vector-borne disease, especially in North America, Europe, and Asia.

You can contract the disease when the black-legged tick, also known as the deer tick, bites you. You are more likely to get Lyme disease if you happen to live in heavily wooded and grassy areas where deer ticks reside.

You need to take the necessary precautions if you live in such areas. But on the off chance that you contract the disease, there is Lyme disease treatment that is available.

Understanding Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a vector-borne disease, which means that the bacteria causing the disease is transmitted through a vector. In this case, the vector is an infected deer tick or black-legged tick.

The symptoms of the disease start showing anytime between three to thirty days after you have been bitten. In some scenarios, the symptoms can manifest after a couple of months.

Not every bite will cause Lyme disease. Getting Lyme disease depends on the type of tick, location, and how long it was attached to you.

For you to get Lyme disease, the tick must be attached to you for at least 36 to 48 hours. If you notice the tick early and remove it before 48 hours, then you are least likely to get infected.

Most tick bites are harmless, and just a small percentage of the ticks are infected.

Symptoms

Generally, there are three stages of the disease:

  • Early localized Lyme disease. This is where the infection has not spread through the body.
  • Early disseminated Lyme disease. At this stage, the infection has begun to spread to the rest of the body.
  • Late disseminated Lyme disease. This is where the infection has spread throughout your body.

Although Lyme disease symptoms can be specific in the three stages, there are times when the symptoms overlap. There are instances where the Lyme disease symptoms will show up in the late stage of the disease without showing in the earlier stages.

Irrespective of this, here are some of the symptoms:

  • A flat and circular rash
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Joint pain accompanied by pain.
  • Problem concentrating
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances

If untreated, the late symptoms will include:

  • Severe joint pain
  • A rash may show on parts of your body.
  • Neurological issues may arise like meningitis or Bell’s palsy.

Chronic Lyme Disease

In some instances, some patients will continue to experience symptoms even after undergoing antibiotic therapy. Chronic Lyme disease has also been referred to as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.

A patient experiencing chronic Lyme disease may continue to experience the symptoms for over six months.

Diagnosis of Lyme Disease

Our doctors will check your medical history, discuss your symptoms with you, and your history of tick exposure.

Based on your answers, a two-step Lyme disease test will be done. This is where your blood sample will be taken to ascertain whether you have the antibodies to the bacteria. The accuracy of this test is dependent on the accuracy of the timelines.

Meaning if you gave the wrong information concerning when you were bitten, then the test will come back negative. This is because, during the early stages of the disease, your body hasn’t made enough antibodies that could be detected in the Lyme disease test.

If the disease has spread, expect these tests:

  • Brain MRI
  • Spinal tap
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Echocardiogram

Treatment

When the disease is detected early, antibiotics will be used to treat the infection. You will typically take the medication for up to three weeks.

90% of the cases will be cured using antibiotics. If not, you might be given other antibiotics, and it might be administered intravenously.

If you are in the early disseminated stage of the disease, oral antibiotics may help with the abnormal heart rhythm and facial palsy. Also, if you have meningitis or heart problems, you will receive antibiotics intravenously.

Patients who still experience arthritis symptoms will continue to receive arthritis treatment.

Do not hesitate to contact our doctors at Austin Express ER, when you start experiencing any of the symptoms above. Early detection can help prevent the disease from progressing.

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