What Are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease? How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed and Treated?

What Are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease? How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed and Treated?
What Are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease? How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed and Treated?

Holistic and Functional Medicine Physician Prof. Dr. Murat Hökelek gave information about the subject. Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Usually Ixodes sp. It is transmitted by ticks called hard ticks. When these ticks attach to humans and remain on the skin for 36 to 48 hours, the probability of infection is very high. If the tick is removed within 48 hours and preventive treatment is started immediately, the disease can be prevented. Recent studies have shown that the agent can also be transmitted by mosquitoes.

Once the infection occurs, the bacteria move through the bloodstream and affect various tissues in the body. If Lyme disease is not treated early, it can spread from the skin, joints and nervous system to other organs, affecting many systems and turning into a chronic inflammatory condition.

The likelihood of contracting Lyme disease after a tick bite depends on the type of tick, where it was bitten, and how long the tick has been on the skin.

What Are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

Symptoms may begin 3 to 30 days after the tick bite. They may differ depending on the stage of the infection. In some cases, there may not be any symptoms until months after the bite.

Early symptoms include:

  • Fire
  • Shake
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • swelling in the lymph nodes

All of these symptoms are symptoms that can be seen in the common cold, so they can be neglected. However, one of the first signs that is different in Lyme infection is a skin rash at the bite site. Lyme rashes, called erythema migrans, have a "bull's-eye" appearance with circles in the middle. The red ring grows slowly over several days, reaching a diameter of about 30 cm. It may feel warm to the touch, but it is not usually itchy or painful.

If undiagnosed and untreated, symptoms may worsen, resulting in:

  • severe headache and neck stiffness
  • rashes on other parts of the body
  • Arthritis with joint pain and swelling, especially in the knees
  • Paralysis on one or both sides of the face
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • Pain, numbness, tingling in hands or feet

How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed?

When a doctor is consulted, the diagnosis can be made according to the symptoms and the history of encountering a tick. A blood test may be requested at this stage. However, during the first few weeks of infection, the test may be negative because the antibodies have not yet risen. Tests that can diagnose Lyme disease are available and should be ordered within the first few weeks after exposure to a tick. The sooner it is treated, the less likely it is to get worse.

Lyme disease mimics more than 300 diseases. For this reason, it is also called the "Great Imitator". Differential diagnosis is very important. Lyme disease can arise from long-standing and undiagnosed neurological disorders, psychiatric problems, brain fog, joint and muscle problems that cannot be benefited from drugs. Some special tests have been developed for the diagnosis of late infection that have become widespread, and these should be evaluated in combination.

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