Do You Suspect that You have Lymes Disease Symptoms? Here’s How to Know
What a great summer you’ve had! You’ve made most of it, spending as much of time in the Great Outdoors as you could. Picnics, woodland hikes, gardening, family get-togethers at city and state parks. Meanwhile, you’ve been feeling a lot more fatigued than usual, running a low fever, and kind of achy all over. But that’s just because you’ve tired yourself out with summer fun. Right? All that visiting and activity probably just exposed you to an end-of-summer cold. You’re not experiencing Lymes disease symptoms. Right?
When it comes to this rapidly spreading infection, safe is far better than sorry. Ignoring symptoms of Lymes disease can result in severe, chronic complications that can disrupt your life for years to come. Complications can include chronic conditions like autoimmune diseases or heart-related illness. But, don’t panic. Get informed. The National Stem Cell Institute, a leading regenerative medicine clinic based in the United States, reports that Lymes disease symptoms are treatable no matter how long you may have been experiencing them.
How can the average person tell the difference between Lymes disease and a stubborn cold?
So, what are the symptoms of Lymes disease? How can you tell them apart from the aches, pains, fever, and other signs of a typical cold or the flu? How do you know that the increased sleep problems and sore joints you’ve been experiencing aren’t you just getting older?
By the end of this article you’ll have a much better understanding of Lymes disease symptoms and what to look for.
Lymes Disease Symptoms Basics
In spite of its increase across the U.S., Lymes disease (or Lyme, without the ending S) remains underreported. It’s caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, transmitted by blacklegged deer ticks. Because so many of the symptoms of Lymes disease imitate symptoms of numerous other illnesses, diagnosis can be hard to pin down.
Blacklegged ticks are increasing their geographical spread, and with them comes an increase in Lymes disease. Lymes is designated a “notifiable disease,” which means that a diagnosis of Lyme disease symptoms must be reported to the government. The disease is now the 5th most reported in the United States, with an estimated 329,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Even so, many state authorities believe that Lymes is significantly underreported. Some estimates indicate that there are approximately one million cases of Lymes disease in the U.S. annually.
Seek out diagnosis as soon after the onset of Lymes disease symptoms as possible.
Patients who are treated for Lymes disease symptoms right away generally have a good prognosis. The antibiotic regimen is usually done over the course of three weeks. However, the longer you go without an accurate diagnosis the harder it is to fight the infection. Within days after being bitten, the Lymes bacteria can migrate to the central nervous system, muscles and joints, eyes, and even the heart.
The symptoms of Lymes disease are sometimes separated into 3 stages: acute, early disseminated, and late disseminated. However, the types of Lymes disease symptoms and the speed of progression vary with each individual. Not everyone with the disease will experience each stage. One infected person might have only a few symptoms while another has all of them. Lymes disease symptoms can also differ in severity.
Lymes is a multi-system disease. Below are the 12 most common symptoms of Lymes disease.
The trademark rash of Lymes disease is a solid red oval that looks very much like a bull’s-eye, with a center red spot that is surrounded by a clear circle defined by a red border. The rash is medically known as erythema chronicum migrans. It typically appears at the location of the tick bite, within 3 to 30 days afterward. Smaller “bull’s eye” rashes may show up 3 to 5 weeks later, an indication that the bacteria is spreading through tissues.
Generally speaking, the rash doesn’t raise welts. It remains flat to the touch and normally does not cause itching. But, in some cases, the rings of the bull’s eye have been known to “welt up” or blister. No matter what form it takes, the rash is an indication that Lymes is spreading within skin tissues. It will expand, then eventually fade whether you’re being treated for Lymes disease symptoms or not.
If you have a rash, it’s important to photograph it and see your doctor to get treated promptly.
Not everyone who exhibits symptoms of Lymes disease will experience a rash. But the percentage of how many do might be underestimated. It is thought that approximately 30% of people diagnosed with Lymes may have had the rash at one time, but don’t remember seeing it. All too often, even fewer people don’t recall having a tick bite at all.
That’s why it is so important to do a full-body check for ticks after spending time out-of-doors. More on this and other tick bite preventions later in this article.
Since so many people either don’t experience or notice any type of rash at all, the most common of the early Lymes disease symptoms to be noticed are those that mimic the flu. Of these, acute fatigue is usually at the top of the list.
How can you tell if your fatigue is related to Lymes disease symptoms? You may notice that the tiredness, exhaustion, and lack of energy have nothing to do with any particular activity. The fatigue can be relentless, spreading everywhere through your body. Are you finding that you simply can’t get through the day without a nap, where as you usually need none? Or have you noticed that, lately, you need more hours of sleep than usual?
For many people, Lyme fatigue can be cyclical. It may wax and wane every few weeks. In some patients, the exhaustion can become disabling. It’s not uncommon for Lyme fatigue to be mistaken by even the most experienced doctors for chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or depression.
In studies that center on Lymes disease symptoms, one reported that approximately 84% of children diagnosed with Lymes disease had acute or chronic fatigue. Another indicated that 76% of adults who experienced symptoms of Lymes disease said that acute or chronic fatigue was a primary symptom.
If you find yourself thinking, “Whatever is wrong with me? I can barely get the energy to fix dinner, but I haven’t done anything unusual,” you may want to consider if you’re experiencing symptoms of Lymes disease.
- Joint Pain
Stiff, achy joints represent another early indication that Lymes disease may be present. The pain and stiffness is frequently intermittent. Joints can become inflamed and feel warm to the touch in addition to being painful and swollen. In some cases, range of motion can be affected. You may have stiffness and limited range of motion in some joints.
A common sign that joint pain may be related to Lymes disease symptoms is that the pain may move intermittently from one joint area to another. One day it could be a knee that hurts. On another, it might be your neck. Pain may come and go, and change in severity. You may also notice that more than one joint is affected simultaneously. Generally speaking, Lymes disease affects the larger joints of the body.
Joint pain is one of the Lymes disease symptoms that is frequently mistaken for something else: aging, genetics, or a sports injury. It has been estimated that 80% of people who have untreated Lymes have muscle and joint pain.
Other significant statistics on Lymes disease symptoms that relate to joint and muscle pain include:
- 50% of persons with untreated Lymes disease have intermittent arthritis.
- 2/3 of those who have untreated Lymes experience their first episode of joint pain within six months after being infected.
- Using anti-inflammatory drugs can mask the real number of those suffering from joint pain related to Lymes disease symptoms.
- Headache, dizziness, feverish
As with fatigue and joint pain, Lymes disease symptoms have headaches, dizziness, and fever in common with the flu. Approximately half of Lymes patients report experiencing flu-like symptoms within a week after being infected.
As mentioned earlier, the symptoms of Lymes disease can range from low level to severe. In fact, fever associated with the infection is generally so low-grade that both doctor and patient alike can entirely overlook the possibility of Lymes. The telltale of Lymes disease symptoms is that the infection’s aches, headaches, dizziness, and fever may come and go in some patients. With genuine influenza, these symptoms are constant.
- Sleep Problems
A disturbance in sleep patterns is quite common among Lymes patients. Interrupted sleep can be caused by a number of Lymes disease symptoms, such as:
- Joint pain
- Fluctuations in body temperature
- Night sweats
- Night chills
- A flushed feeling in the face and head
Poor sleep can aggravate Lymes disease symptoms and compromise the body’s immune system. Getting enough rest and sleep is crucial for combating the infection at any stage of severity. So do not underestimate its importance in restoring your health.
- Cognitive Decline
As the infection progresses, cognitive disturbance of one degree or another can develop. Often, this is when people exhibiting Lymes disease symptoms begin to worry. Others, however, will mistakenly chalk up this “brain fog” and cognitive trouble to stress and aging.
Signs of cognitive decline include:
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Memory lapses, such as struggling to remember a familiar name
- A sense of “brain fog,” in which you feel as if you’re ability to process information has slowed
- Lapses in the ability to remember how to get to a familiar place
- Confusion as to where you are or why you are there
- Arriving at a store, but utterly forgetting what is was you went there to buy
You might at first attribute this to stress or age, but the decline in capabilities may worry you.
It’s easy to understand why many people mistakenly shrug off some of the cognitive symptoms of Lymes disease. But do not do so! See your doctor as soon as possible and be sure to make mention of any outdoor activities that might have put you at risk of infection, even if it has been weeks or months since you have done so.
- Sensitivity to Light/Vision problems
Does bright indoor light bother you or even feel blinding? Lymes disease can cause light sensitivity so bad that some people resort to wearing sunglasses indoors. Likewise, even the diffuse light of a cloudy day can be uncomfortable enough to require sunglasses outdoors.
A recent study has shown that sensitivity to light affects 16% of adults with early Lyme disease symptoms. This same study reported that 13% reported blurred vision.
- Other Neurological Symptoms
Lymes disease symptoms that indicate the infection has progressed in other neurological trouble, such as:
- Trouble with balance
- Difficulty in coordinating movements
- Even slight inclines, such as a sloped driveway, can feel difficult to walk down
- Falling or tripping more often
Some neurological Lymes disease symptoms are very specific. This is because the infection may target one or more of the 12 pairs of cranial nerves that run from the brain to the head and neck areas. For example, you may develop facial numbness and tingling. Or if Lymes attacks the 7th cranial nerve, the muscles of the face can develop weakness or paralysis. The paralysis may be accompanied by facial tremors. These symptoms can lead to a mistaken diagnosis of Bell’s palsy.
Another example of cranial nerve infection by Lymes is the loss of taste and smell. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites a study finding that 12% of people suffering Lymes disease symptoms have cranial nerve problems.
Approximately 10% of patients exhibiting Lymes disease symptoms experience inflammation of the brain and spinal cord tissues along the pathway of the meninges, where brain and spinal cord link. This is known as Lyme meningitis, and is felt as pain or stiffness in the neck, headaches, and light sensitivity. Likewise, though much more rare, a condition known as encephalopathy, which affects the function or structure of your brain can occur.
- Skin Outbreaks
One of the early symptoms of Lymes disease is skin outbreak. These include:
- Skin rashes
- Large, unexplained bruises
- Discolored patches of skin
- White patches of thin skin
- Parapsoriasis, a precursor to skin lymphoma
These outbreaks may become itchy or unsightly. In some instances, morphea or lichen sclerosus may develop. These are conditions that form discolored patches (morphea) or white patches (lichen sclerosus) on the skin. In the case of morphea, the condition usually only affects the skin and generally resolves itself, but relapses can occur.
In more serious cases, morphea can lead to cosmetic deformity or affect muscles, joints, or bones. Regarding lichen sclerosus, the skin that this condition affects is usually relatively thin. This means that bruising or blistering can occur more easily. In severe cases, ulcerated lesions or open wounds can result.
It is also possible, though not common, for these skin conditions to develop into B cell lymphoma.
- Heart Conditions
Among some of the most serious of Lymes disease symptoms affect the heart. When the infection invades heart tissue, Lyme carditis can develop. Lyme carditis can affect adults and children alike. Carditis is inflammation of the heart, and its severity can span from mild to very serious. Symptoms include:
- Chest pains
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
Another way that Lymes can cause heart damage is by blocking electrical signals that usually transmit between the heart’s chambers. This causes irregular heartbeat and is called heart block.
Among Lymes disease symptoms Lyme carditis shows up in about 1% of reported cases, according to the CDC. But some reports believe a broader definition of carditis is in order, and indicate that 4% to 10% is more likely. While there have been rare deaths attributed to Lyme carditis, with treatment most patients recover from the condition.
- Mood Changes
About 21% of patients exhibiting Lymes disease symptoms report an acute or chronic change in mood.
These changes can include:
- Unexplained Pain, Nerve, and/or Other Physical Sensations
Lymes disease symptoms can also manifest as sharp rib and/or chest pains severe enough to be mistaken for a heart attack. But when no heart problems are found in the emergency room, once again the infection can be overlooked. The mysterious pain may be reported as an unidentified “musculoskeletal cause.”
Other sensations with no obvious cause that may be symptoms of Lymes disease include:
- Feelings of tingling or crawling on the skin
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Loss of hearing
- Tooth and/or jaw pain not related to confirmed tooth decay or infection
How Lyme Disease Symptoms Affect Children
Children can exhibit every sign and symptom of a Lyme infection that adults do. However, Lyme disease symptoms in children can be more difficult to pinpoint because a child can struggle to explain precisely how he or she feels or where the pain is located.
Some ways to be alert for possible Lymes disease symptoms in your child include:
- A decline in school performance
- Mood swings, especially those that might become problematic
- A regression in the child’s social and speech skills
- Problems with motor coordination
- Loss of appetite
- Complaints of joint pain (children have a higher likelihood of developing Lymes-related arthritis)
Do You Suspect You have Lyme Disease Symptoms?
If you feel you are exhibiting symptoms of Lymes disease, set up an appointment with a medical professional as soon as you can. When you do, ask if the doctor you’re going to visit has experience with Lymes disease treatment. Unless you have a Lymes-related “bull’s eye” rash, diagnosis is dependent on the Lymes disease symptoms you have and the potential exposure you have had to blacklegged ticks.
If you discover that you have a tick attached:
- Remove it with tweezers by pulling with a slow, even pressure
- Do not twist or yank or apply heat
- Do not crush the tick
- Wash the bitten area with soap and water or apply rubbing alcohol
- Put the tick in a re-sealable container until you can identify what type of a tick it is
- Save the tick to show to a physician
Not all tick species carry the bacteria that cause symptoms of Lymes disease. The bacteria are only carried by a type of deer tick known as the black legged tick. Your physician will want to have the tick in order to determine whether the tick has fed and, if so, how long it was attached and feeding. The longer the tick has been feeding, the more the likelihood of developing symptoms of Lymes disease increases.
Ways To Fight The Lymes Disease Infection
Early treatment is generally done with a 3 week regimen of oral antibiotics. However, for those who cannot tolerate antibiotics, do not respond well to them, or have had the infection for so long that it has become difficult to treat, stem cell therapy is regularly used and has shown to be highly effective.
As with any medical procedure, stem cell therapy in the United States must be performed by a licensed and trained medical professional. Legitimate stem cell clinics, often known as regenerative medicine clinics, in the U.S. comply with FDA guidelines.
The National Stem Cell Institute (NSI), a leading regenerative medicine facility in the U.S., offers the following advice for finding a licensed, legitimate stem cell clinic.
What to Look for in a Stem Cell Medical Clinic
When searching for a qualified stem cell therapy center it’s important to remember that not all of them are created equal. Stem cells, when used properly, are your body’s most powerful means for healing that can repair everything from ligaments, tendons, and cartilage to organs including your liver, pancreas and lungs and even neurological tissue like your brain, nerves and spinal cord.
Unfortunately, the majority of so-called “regenerative medicine clinics” in the world aren’t trained in the latest, most technologically advanced procedures and will, therefore, provide poor results if any.
The good news is the National Stem Cell Institute (NSI) has established the most advanced stem cell and platelet rich plasma procedures on the planet which has drawn patients from all over the world as well as professional athletes and celebrities because they are recognized as the best in the world at stem cell therapy.
What makes NSI Stem Cell the top stem cell clinic in the world is demonstrated in 5 key areas:
1. Highly trained and experienced, board-certified doctors and team members who have performed stem cell procedures on thousands of patients with incredible results.
2. Cutting edge procedures utilizing all that regenerative medicine has to offer for many chronic degenerative conditions.
3. Leading scientific researchers who follow the advanced guidelines to maximize the healing potential of your stem cells and to maintain compliance and ethics
4. Use of only the most potent and viable resource of living, viable stem cells and harvested on the same day. No vial that you can purchase will contain living stem cells. If there is no harvest then there are no stem cells.
5. Post-operative guidance for supporting stem-cell growth including rehabilitation, diet and supplement protocols. NSI is a full-service healthcare center focused on patient outcomes. Stem cell therapy is only one tool used to help improve patients’ lives.
Patients have raved about their experience at NSI Stem Cell Clinics testifying that it was their unique cutting-edge procedures that helped them experience a breakthrough when nothing else worked.
If you want to learn more about NSI Stem Cell Clinics, you can set up a complimentary consultation today to see if you are a candidate. You can contact the National Stem Cell Institute at (877) 278-3623.