What is Lyme Disease?
It is estimated that 476,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the US every year – making it the fastest growing vector-borne infectious disease according to the CDC. According to LymeDisease.org, Lyme disease is a bacterial infection, most commonly contracted from a tick bite, that may initially cause a flu-like sickness. Untreated, or inadequately treated, it may cause long-term, persistent (chronic) illness that can affect many systems of the body. Other tick-borne diseases, or co-infections, are often contracted at the same time. Lyme is often referred to as “The Great Imitator” as its symptoms mimic other diseases that affect the brain, nervous system, heart, muscles and joints.
How can you get it?
Lyme Disease is mainly spread through the bite of the deer tick in the eastern U.S., and the black-legged tick in the western U.S. The Lone Star tick, found primarily in the South and Midwest now expanding to other areas, has also been associated with Lyme disease.
Some researchers believe that other ticks and some biting insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, biting flies, and lice may also transmit it. Babies could be born with Lyme if the mother has Lyme, or they could possibly contract it through breast milk. One may also contract it through a blood transfusion as Lyme-infected blood may transmit the disease to the recipient. Some believe that Lyme and other tick-borne diseases can be sexually transmitted, although there has never been any research to confirm or deny it. Lyme spirochetes have been found in many bodily fluids.
Fill out this Symptoms Checklist to see if you may have Lyme.
Early-Stage (Stage 1) Lyme:
- Bullseye Rash
Rash often appears within a week but can take as long as 30 days and can be in single or multiple areas of the body. It does not always appear at the site of a known tick bite and could be elsewhere on the body. Bite will not be itchy and should not be mistaken for a spider bite.
- Flu-like symptoms – fever, chills, body aches, swollen glands, etc.
- Joint Pain & Swelling
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Bell’s Palsy (drooping on one side of the face)
Late-Stage (Stage 2) Lyme:
The Lyme community often describes chronic Lyme as a range of physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms that persist for days to months after the initial infection. These symptoms can evolve, disappear and reappear at different times.
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Additional bullseye rashes in new places on the body
- Facial palsy, also known as Bell’s palsy – paralysis of one side of the face
- Arthritis or joint pain and swelling, especially of large joints (such as the knee)
- Intermittent tendon, muscle, joint, nerve, or bone pain
- Heart palpitations or arrhythmia
- Dizziness or shortness of breath
- Inflammation of the brain or spinal cord
- Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
Chronic Lyme (Stage 3):
According to IGeneX, Chronic Lyme survivors have reported experiencing the following symptoms for months to years after infection:
- Intermittent fevers, chills, and sweats
- Chronic inflammation
- Roving aches and stiffness
- Numbness and tingling in the limbs
- Dizziness and shortness of breath
- Respiratory infections
- Sore throats
- Stomach pains
- Heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Hearing sensitivity
- Dysphonia (vocal cord damage)
- New food allergies
- Multiple-chemical sensitivities
Lyme is often treated with a two to four week course of oral or possibly IV antibiotics. Some cases require longer depending on how long they’ve had the disease or if they have co-infections.
Here at Abundant Life, we can help guide you through your Lyme journey with our holistic approach. AmpCoil is a wonderful tool we have here that many with Lyme find benefit from.
Articles about Lyme:
The History of Lyme has a Wisconsin Chapter