Lyme disease

Lyme disease was first discovered back in 1975. In a town called Lyme, Connecticut there were several children all wrongly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Since there were several children all diagnosed around the same time and around the same area, researchers were made aware of the coincidence by the group of mothers and research was started. The children were all finally diagnosed with a bacterial illness called spirochete or Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacterial infection was soon labeled as Lyme disease in 1982, named after the town in which it was first made aware.

Lyme disease has been linked back to the deer tick. This species of ticks carry this bacterium in their stomachs. When a tick bites a person the bacteria is transmitted through the skin and the bacterium then infects the body. This is not something that is contagious from person to person, only from an infected tick to a person.

After a tick, that is a carrier of this disease, bites a person, the person may develop a red rash around the area that can spread throughout the body. This rash is usually referred to as a “bulls eye” since it can start as a red ring with the center being the site of the bite. Not all people will develop this rash so it’s not uncommon for this phase to go unnoticed. Flu like symptoms may then become present during the initial stages. This can take hours, days or weeks to occur after the bite. This is the first of the three stages. It’s known as Early Localized Disease and has been medically described in association with Lyme disease.

The second stage called Early Disseminated Disease can occur weeks or months later and involves the heart and nervous system. After the initial redness starts to fade the bacteria will start to spread throughout the body causing joint and heart disease. Also problems involving the nervous system are very likely.

The last phase known as Late Disease causes motor and sensory nerve damage. Inflammation of the heart and heart failure are possible in the later stages of the disease. Facial paralysis, meningitis, arthritis, anxiety, and depression are all other signs of the progressed Lyme disease.

If you have been bit by a tick or start to notice any of the previous symptoms you need to see your doctor right away. Although Lyme disease can cause horrible side effects after it has progressed throughout the body, it can actually be very treatable. Usually Lyme disease is treated very successfully with antibiotics. The course of treatment is dependent on the stage in which the Lyme disease is diagnosed. If you find the typical “bulls eye” rash located on your body and go to the doctor right away then oral antibiotics will be administered and the rash will clear within a matter of a few days. Fortunately this will typically prevent any further side effects of the Lyme disease from progressing. If the disease is caught in the later stages after the effects have made their way to the nervous system and joints the treatment options will change and it more likely a different form of antibiotics will be administered intravenously.

Although Lyme disease can become quite scary in the later stages, it can be diagnosed and cured. Be sure to check your hair and skin thoroughly after being outside, especially in wooded areas or areas with plants, trees or grasses. When walking in wooded areas try to wear clothing that covers your skin as much as possible and use bug spray to keep all bugs at bay. Also be sure to thoroughly check children and pets for ticks after playing outside.

Last updated on Jun 20th, 2009 and filed under Neurological Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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