What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a disease that is caused by an infected tick. At least three species of bacteria are identified to cause Lyme disease. These bacteria are typically transmitted from ticks to humans and cause the infection. Many people associate Lyme disease with arthritic conditions because many patients that get infected have similar symptoms. Children especially are mostly affected and this is why Lyme disease is also called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
Many patients that get Lyme disease will develop rashes before developing any arthritis-like symptoms. As much as 80% of cases have reported the appearance of a peculiar rash before more serious symptoms appear. Some people may also experience fever and weakness at the start of the infection. There are also patients who complain of headaches at the early stages of the disease. As the disease progresses, inflammation of the joints and other essential parts of the body may be affected. The knee joint is typically the most affected joint with pain and inflammation. Joint-related problems may also last for months. Some patients with Lyme disease will also develop heart problems like pain in the chest and abnormal heartbeat. Facial weakness may also occur secondary to nerve affectation. In worst cases, some patients will also experience numbness, shooting pain, and other symptoms because of affected nerve function in the form of polyneuropathy among others. There are also advanced cases that involve the spread of infection to the brain causing cognitive difficulties and motor impairment.
Antibiotics provide the main treatment option for Lyme disease. Different patients at different stages of the disease may be prescribed with varying medicines and with different dosages and duration. In most cases, a full implementation of antibiotic management will help clear out the bacterial infection involved in Lyme disease. This is largely due to the fact that most patients get diagnosed with Lyme disease at the early part of the disease when only minimal symptoms appear like the fever and flu-like symptoms along with the peculiar rashes.