Long Term Effects of Lyme Disease

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Long Term Effects of Lyme Disease
Long Term Effects of Lyme Disease (Image: Jonae Fredericks)

Lyme ticks thrive in wooded areas, sandy beaches, grassy areas and even your own back yard. The tick itself is so minute that it can often be difficult to spot. In fact, due to its small size, it can often feast on a host, and depart completely undetected. And because Lyme ticks are naturally equipped with a chemical that numbs the area surrounding its infectious bite, a victim may remain completely unaware of the attack until the Lyme disease symptoms begin to wreak havoc on his body.

Identification

Borrelia burgdorferi is the bacteria responsible for the illness once the person infected with Lyme disease. Spread to humans and animals by the bite of a deer tick, the bite itself is characterized by a "bull's eye" type rash surrounding the location where the tick has penetrated the skin. Once infected, Lyme disease can eventually spread to the central nervous system and joints, as well as the organs and soft tissue of the body.

Time Frame

The more time that Lyme disease is given to manifest itself in the human body, the more severe the symptoms of the infection can become. The infection must be treated as early as possible with antibiotics in order to overcome the effects of the disease. Unfortunately, if the rash goes unnoticed, or a doctor fails to suspect that a patient's symptoms are related to Lyme disease, the infection may go undetected.

Effects

Lyme disease is diagnosed through a simple blood test that will detect its bacterial presence. Lyme disease that continues to develop inside the body can begin to form toxins that can be fatal. Flu like symptoms and extreme pain in the muscles and joints can make it difficult to perform everyday functions, including exercising and walking. Even with antibiotic treatment, the damage to infected parts of the body may be irreversible. Speech problems can begin to develop and worsen, causing communication to be a problem for the infected person. And deterioration of the muscles can cause a person to become bed-bound.

The Facts

Aside from the long term effects that Lyme disease can have on the body, are the long term effects that it can have on a person's bank account. Unfortunately, disease sufferers pay a hefty price to help make them well again. Late stage victims must undergo a long term phase of oral and intravenous antibiotics. And if these medications are stopped too soon, the infection will linger inside the body, regain strength and begin the painful process of destroying the body for a second time around. Yet, some insurance companies do not completely cover the costs of these medications for its subscribers. The costs of the necessary antibiotics can reach hundreds of dollars for a single dose. The long term financial burden can be catastrophic for some patients.

Prevention/Solution

Prevention is key in the Lyme disease battle. Wearing long sleeved shirts, long pants, knee socks, proper footwear and a hat when venturing into wooded areas during warm weather months, is suggested. Light colored clothing is also a necessity, which will make you better apt to spot a Lyme tick on your clothing. A full body and head check is also recommended when you go back indoors. Also, checking for rashes and recognizing the early symptoms of Lyme disease is essential. The early phase of the disease often manifests itself within days of the bite. The early symptoms include, but are not limited to, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, fever, chills and swollen lymph nodes.

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