Lyme Disease Symptoms
Everyone thinks of a bull’s eye rash with a red ring surrounding a clear area and a red center when diagnosing Lyme disease. It size can be anywhere from less than an inch to 12 inches in size. Usually about 70-80% of the people develop this rash. The rash usually dissipates in less than a weeks’ time.
The rash can be accompanied by flu symptoms. These symptoms can include aches, fever, headaches and chills.
We can also see joint pain that may include severe pain and swelling only to shift to another joint later. The knee is the most commonly affected joint.
Neurological symptoms can be paralysis of the face, numbness and weakness in the limbs, incoordination, and meningitis symptoms. Also you may see signs of impaired memory and cognition. Mood swings may be seen, depression, sleep disorders are all reported and common symptoms especially in untreated Lyme.
Some of the more vague symptoms are fatigue and symptoms like fibromyalgia, feelings of anxiety, weight loss and even weight gain. People often report difficulty in writing and forming thoughts. Shooting types of pains are also common as is severe jaw pain. Irregular heart beat and even inflammation of the heart and the arteries along with possible chest pain.
Usually you won’t see one symptom however you’ll begin to see clusters of these symptoms. They can become very confusing and the fact that the test isn’t always positive doesn’t always make the diagnosis easy.
Recently we referred a patient to an infectious disease specialist who was suffering from severe neurological symptoms. The common wisdom of his treating doctor at the time was to have him have electrodes implanted in his head to control the symptoms. Fortunately a course of antibiotics controlled the symptoms.
The first time I encountered Lyme disease was with my dog Charlie. Charlie was a beautiful West Highland Terrier. However one day after a walk we noticed one day he had swelling in his left rear hock. Every vet we saw only suggested steroids. We noticed after he was sick on time on a short course of antibiotics he started to do a bit better.
At this point Charlie started to lose a lot of weight and became crippled. His normal 25 pound body had now decreased to 12 pounds. Desperately we went from vet to vet begging that they put Charlie on antibiotics because it seemed to help. Now this is about 25 years ago and people weren’t as familiar with Lyme.
We did find an herbal antibiotic which I swear saved his life. But he still wasn’t thriving. Finally after 7 vets we found one vet who’s practice was either slow and he wanted to keep us a customers or just shut us up put the dog on 6 week course of antibiotics.
The vet was shocked when 6 weeks later he saw a different dog. We followed up with another course of antibiotics and 3 months later the dog was nearly back to normal weight. However the disease had made Charlie crippled. However he lived a full life being lifted everywhere we went.