According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 476,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease every single year¹, and it’s likely that this number is either over-estimated or under-estimated. Why? Because most Lyme cases go unreported since people don’t realize that they have it until years later, even while they experience the symptoms, resulting in the disease going untreated. Occasionally, the opposite may occur if the person believes that they have Lyme when they’re actually just suffering from the flu. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection called Borrelia Burgdorferi that spreads throughout the human body through the bite of an infected deer tick. While Lyme disease has attained a lot more attention over the years, it has historically been rejected as a serious illness by some medical doctors. If the disease continues untreated or misdiagnosed for other conditions, it will likely spread and worsen overtime. But, how is it possible to prevent Lyme from spreading when… 1. Medical doctors don’t handle it seriously, and continuously misdiagnose it, and 2. The symptoms are too difficult to detect? It’s possible to detect Lyme disease in its early stages, the key is noticing these five common symptoms.
One of the very first signs of Lyme disease is a rash, although, a Lyme rash is different when compared to a normal one. A normal rash breaks out, may spread all over the body, will often itch and clear up with the use of some topical ointment or cream. Meanwhile, a Lyme rash (also called Erythema Migrans) will usually form in one spot on the body (typically near where the tick had bitten and infected its host), will not have an itch, but instead appear flat and warm to the touch, and develop into a circular/oval shape that resembles that of a “bulls-eye”. Health Magazine reported that about 80% of those infected by Borrelia Burgdorferi develop this particular rash that will easily indicate Lyme, although not all Lyme patients will experience this symptom². Still, if one wakes up and notices a bulls-eye rash on their body, it is a very big indication of Stage 1 Lyme, and they should seek medical attention immediately for further testing and treatment before the bacteria spreads.
If you regularly find yourself catching the flu or experiencing on-and-off flu-like symptoms, you may want to consider getting tested for Lyme. Healthline reported that about 50% of Lyme patients suffer with flu-like symptoms within a week of initial infection³. The longer the bacteria spreads throughout the body, the worse these symptoms may be and the more often they may occur. Some of these symptoms include:
- muscle aches
Initially, when a Lyme patient comes down with flu-like symptoms, they automatically believe they are suffering from influenza. However, most people should know that the difference between Lyme flu-like symptoms and a normal flu is that the flu will heal permanently meanwhile Lyme flu-like symptoms will either be on-going or consistently come and go.
Some people who have advanced Lyme disease may also experience intermittent joint pain and stiffness due to the bacteria causing inflammation in specific areas. An article produced by Columbia University Irving Medical Center explained that about 60% of people with untreated Lyme will experience joint inflammation and swelling4. The pain may vary from tolerable to severe in certain patients depending on their Lyme stage. If the condition goes untreated, the patient will have a higher potential of developing various types of joint conditions such as arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or fibromyalgia.
Do you constantly find yourself forgetting things that should be easy for you to remember? Do you have trouble concentrating at work or at school? If so, memory lapses or cognitive decline can be a common sign of Lyme disease. Most Lyme patients report having mild to severe brain fog and as the disease continues untreated the more the patient will feel mentally deteriorated. In severe cases, these symptoms would include:
- difficulty with words
- slower thinking speed
- impaired fine motor control
Other patients may report falling into states of depression, anxiety, irritability, frequent headaches or experience constant mood swings.
When Lyme bacteria invades the heart tissue, it will lead to Lyme Carditis. This is a bacterial interference that causes light-headedness, shortness of breath, chest pains, heart palpitations and fainting. The condition (sometimes known as a “heart block”) inhibits the movement between the electrical signals of the upper and lower heart chambers. At this stage, the disease has a high potential of being fatal. The CDC reported that approximately one out of 100 Lyme patients will suffer from Lyme Carditis, and between the years 1985-2019, about 11 people worldwide have died from it5.
Lyme disease is an extremely daunting and frustrating condition that goes untreated due to constant misdiagnosis or confusion with other illnesses, which is why we recommend anyone enduring these symptoms above to get tested for it. At LifeWorks Wellness Center, our methods for Lyme testing are much different compared to other facilities. We have successfully diagnosed and treated 90% of Lyme disease patients through the use of natural methods. If you feel that you have received a tick bite, or have suffered with the disease for many years, please call to schedule an appointment at 727-466-6789.