There are various Lyme disease symptoms, and many of them are common with other health issues, making the problem very difficult to diagnose and treat. There are no signs immediately after the tick bite. Usually, the early Lyme disease symptoms occur within a week to a month after the bite, and look a lot like rashes or other skin conditions. The rash doesn’t have a very well defined shape, but the most common are the bull’s eye rashes, defined by a round or oval form, with a pale area in the center. Also, the rash sometimes appears right on the place bitten by the tick, but it can also show up on any other part of the body. If you notice the problem, the easiest way to find whether it’s one of the early Lyme disease symptoms is to check how quickly it grows. It’s recommended to draw a circle around the rash, using a pen. If it’s a symptom of the Lyme disease, it will spread beyond the circle within 24 hours.
Without treatment, the rash goes away in a week or two, and most people usually forget about it immediately. Unfortunately, the other early Lyme disease symptoms are even harder to trace, and include fatigue, headache and high fever – the so called “flu-like illness”. Of course, this stage is easily mistaken for a flu or a seasonal allergy – but you should remember that Lyme disease symptoms never include a running nose, sore throat or cough – so these may guide you.
Left untreated, the infection spreads through the entire body, and more rashes show up, usually smaller than the initial one, and they go away quicker. It is important to mention that some patients show no signs up to this point, making the disease impossible to trace.
The later symptoms of Lyme disease are more severe. If the brain becomes infected, it leads to meningitis, a very serious condition, which requires immediate medical attention. Also, if the nervous system is affected, it’s common to affect the face, so that the patient is no longer able to control an eyelid, or to chew food, and so on.
If the bacteria settle in the joints, the later symptoms of Lyme disease include arthritis, with all the stiffness and pain usually associated with it. Sometimes the heart muscle can be affected, causing heart blocks.
In time, the infection becomes chronic, and pain increases and eventually becomes permanent. Some patients get brain injury from the inflammation, and may get memory problems and a general condition of weakness. Sometimes, Lyme disease symptoms remain even after the treatment is fully completed. They include a general fatigue, muscle aches, general weakness, problems sleeping and loss of energy. The symptoms may remain for about six months; they are usually considered glitches of an organism trying to recover and do not require any separate treatment. Usually they will go away by themselves. Some doctors don’t even admit they are related to Lyme disease at all.