Five key signs of Lyme Disease

Posted: 18th December 2020

Spotting the signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease early is crucial. The earlier the diagnosis, the more effective the treatment and the better the outcome. Any delays in diagnosis and treatment can result in long-lasting symptoms that could affect your quality of life.

Here are five signs of Lyme Disease that you need to know. 

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease, or to give it its proper name Lyme borreliosis, is a serious bacterial infection that’s spread to humans by ticks. 

Specifically, these ticks are infected with a specific type of bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. The harmful bacteria is passed to humans through a tick bite.

Lyme Disease infections are on the rise, with an increasing number of cases diagnosed in the UK and USA. The good news is if it’s diagnosed early, Lyme Disease can be treated effectively with antibiotics.

Here are five key signs of Lyme Disease that you can’t ignore.

Sign #1. A circular red rash

One of the first, and most obvious, signs of Lyme Disease is a circular red rash around an insect bite. Known as a ‘bulls-eye’ rash, it usually appears between three to 30 days after a tick bite. 

Lyme Diseases rashes are bright red and with raised edges. The rash may vary in size but is typically around 15cm (6 inches) wide. It can appear suddenly or develop slowly over several weeks.

Some people infected with Lyme Disease will develop the bull’s eye rash at more than one place on their bodies, others won’t develop a rash at all. If you’re worried about a rash and are concerned it could be Lyme Disease, then get it checked out.

Sign #2. Flu-like illness

Many people experience flu-like symptoms during the early stages of Lyme Disease infection.

Some of the familiar things to look for include tiredness (fatigue), muscle pain, joint pain, headaches, a high temperature (fever), chills and neck stiffness. Your glands may also feel tender.

You may put these feelings down to the common cold, or flu, but if they persist, or get worse, then you should seek a diagnosis.

Sign #3. Severe headaches and neck stiffness

If Lyme Disease isn’t diagnosed early, it can lead to more severe symptoms, including headaches and neck stiffness. In some cases, this can be accompanied by a sensitivity to light. 

Headaches, neck stiffness and sensitivity to light are serious signs that something isn’t right, and shouldn’t be ignored. If it’s not Lyme Disease, it could be a serious condition such as Meningitis, so seek professional medical advice.

Sign #4. Unexplained body pain

Lyme Disease can cause severe pain and swelling in the joints (inflammatory arthritis). The pain is often felt in the knees and other large joints, and if left untreated can become debilitating. 

Patients with Lyme Disease may experience persistent or intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones. There are also examples of people with late-stage Lyme Disease experiencing shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet.

Any of these symptoms is a warning sign that you need medical advice.

Sign #5. Nervous system problems

In the most serious of cases, Lyme Disease can affect the nervous system, resulting in paralysis of the facial muscles. Known medically as facial palsy, patients can experience a loss of muscle tone in the face, and their face may appear to droop.

As well as physical issues, people with Lyme Disease can have difficulties concentrating and issues with their memory. Regardless of the cause, these symptoms are a warning that you need to get urgent medical help.

Spotting the signs

Lyme Disease is tricky to diagnose because everyone experiences the condition in a different way. You may have all, some, or just one of these symptoms. The earlier Lyme Disease is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat and the better the outcome. Leave it too late, and treatment may not be as effective.

At Biocentaur, we offer a range of cutting-edge and clinically validated tests to diagnose Lyme Disease. Our PrimeSpot genetic test uses the latest techniques in molecular biology to diagnose Lyme Disease and chronic fatigue syndrome. You can learn more about our range of tests here, including how to purchase them for yourself or your patients.