Also known as “The Great Imitator” that is often mistaken for ALS, MS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other illnesses.
Lyme disease is an illness caused by the bacterium Borrelia Burgdorferi, contracted through the bite of an infected blacklegged (deer tick). These ticks can also carry bacterial co-infections, such as Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Bartonella, just to name a few. While Lyme disease is the most common infection from a tick, co-infections can further complicate one’s Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment.
Lyme disease occurs in three stages: early localized, early disseminated, and late disseminated. However, stages can overlap and not all patients will go through all three stages. In most cases, Lyme symptoms manifest as a flu-like illness. If left untreated, or misdiagnosed, the symptoms can continue to worsen, ultimately resulting in a life time of debilitating issues.
Stage 1: Early Localized
At this early stage, symptoms may begin within hours following the onset of a tick bite. One may even have a telltale bulls-eye rash around the infected area. At this point, the infection has not spread throughout the body and prompt treatment will make this stage the easiest to treat and cure.
Symptoms of early localized Lyme disease include: skin rash, flu-like illness, fatigue, headache and stiff neck, muscle soreness, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and sore throat.
Stage 2: Early Disseminated Lyme
This stage may occur several weeks or months after the initial tick bite. During this stage, bacteria are spreading through the body. In addition to the above symptoms, early disseminated Lyme disease is often characterized by: chills, fever, pain and/or weakness or numbness in arms and legs, vision problems, heart palpitations, and facial paralysis (similar to Bell’s palsy).
Stage 3: Late Disseminated Lyme
If Lyme disease isn’t promptly or effectively diagnosed and treated in the first two stages, late disseminated Lyme occurs. At this point, the Lyme bacteria have spread throughout the body and many patients have developed chronic diseases as well as an increase in neurological and cardiac symptoms. These symptoms include: arthritis in joints, vertigo/dizziness, migrating pain that comes and goes, sleep disturbances and insomnia, brain fog and concentration issues, numbness in the arms, legs, hands or feet, and debilitating fatigue.