Lyme Disease: An Overview of What it is

It is highly essential to have an idea of what exactly Lyme disease is. Very frequently you may be suffering from the problem but end up not knowing the real cause of the problem. Here is a small effort to bring to your attention the nature, causes and symptoms of Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by bacteria named Borrelia burgdorferi. The ticks are blacklegged and they pick the bacteria when they come in contact with deer or mice that are already infected with this disease. And if the infected tick bites anybody, they get the disease.

The disease passes through three stages.

1st stage: Early localized. The infection has just started and not yet widespread in the body.

2nd stage: Early Disseminated. In this stage the bacteria has begun to spread in the body.

3rd stage: Late Disseminated. In this stage the bacteria has spread completely inside the body.

A regular walk in high grasses, having a pet and doing a lot of outdoor activities like gardening, hiking or hunting increase the risk of getting the disease. When the tick is attached to one’s body for more than 24-36 hours, it is adequate time for the bacteria to spread into the body.

The initial symptoms that people affected with this disease are chills, fever, headache, muscle pain, body wide itching, general ill feeling, and stiff neck and muscle pain. In a few cases there may also be rashes near the bites. If the disease is left untreated there is every chance that it will spread to the heart, brain and joints as well. Well, these may be the symptoms that one can experience in the Stage 1 of the disease.

The Stage 2 is marked by symptoms like muscle pain, heart problems like palpitations and weakness in the muscles that may at times cause paralysis too. The Stage 3 is marked by symptoms like muscles and joints pain, abnormal muscle movements, speech problems, numbness and tingling. The transition from the first stage to the second stage may take a few weeks to a few months. And the transition further from there to the third stage will take a few months to a few years.

ELISA is the most commonly used test for detecting Lyme disease. However, in areas where this disease is widespread, the health care provider may diagnose the disease even without conducting any lab tests. When Lyme disease is detected in the nascent stage itself, it can be cured easily with the help of antibiotics. Even though there are a few complications involving the heart, joints and the nervous system, they are all treatable.

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