Lyme disease is a bacterial illness. This disease is spread by ticks who carry the disease and can cause abnormalities in the skin, joints, heart, and nervous system. Lyme disease affects different areas of the body in varying degrees as it progresses. The site where the tick bites the body is where bacteria enters through the skin. As the bacteria spreads in the skin and away from the bite, the infection causes a reddish rash and “flu-like” symptoms. Lyme disease can be described in 3 phases. In the first phase, it is a early localized disease with skin inflammation. In phase 2, it is an early disseminated disease with heart and nervous system involvement. And in the 3rd late phase of this disease, motor and sensory nerve damage are involved. Patients often cannot recall the tick bite, as the ticks can be as small as a period in this sentence.
Lyme disease signs and symptoms greatly vary because Lyme can affect various parts of the body. General symptoms include a rash, flu-like symptoms, fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, migratory joint pain, and neurological problems. If caught in the early stages, antibiotics can often be used to treat Lyme disease, however late stage Lyme disease can be more difficult. Years of antimicrobials and more complicated treatment plans are necessary to treat late stage Lyme disease. Often when treating late stage Lyme disease, something called a Herxheimer Reaction occurs. This happens when the bacteria is killed off and releases toxins into the body. These neurotoxins and endotoxins effect a persons brain and organs, causing symptoms ranging from seizures, migraines, pain, dizziness, heart problems, and much more.
I do not know much about Lyme disease, and I have never physically met someone with this disease. However, through my own illness, I have been blessed to meet a wonderful and strong girl named Candice. Candice is affected by late stage Lyme disease, and yet she is one of the strongest and bravest people I know. She takes life one day at a time and finds joy in the little things. She has great things to say and knows WAY more about Lyme disease then I will ever know. If you get a chance, please check out her blog at http://infectiousoptimism.blogspot.com/ .
Take care and I will blog again soon!