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Chronic Lyme Disease: Potentially Chronic Pain Condition

Those of us who live in areas where Lyme Disease is prevalent have learned about the early symptoms and why early diagnosis and treatment are key to preventing a whole host of problems.  If you are not up to speed on this topic, here is a brief overview:

Deer tick (Source: Wikimedia)


Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is caused by an organism known as Borrelia burgdorferi.
A person or animal can become infected with this organism when an infected deer tick, commonly found in the US and approximately sixty other countries across the globe, attaches itself to a "host".

The early symptoms of infections in the human population are varied. They include a flu like illness (fever, chills, muscle aches, joint pain, and/or nausea), a characteristic "bulls-eye" rash around the site of the tick bite, Bells Palsy, or perhaps no symptoms at all.  It is reported that 30% to 80% of all patients diagnosed with Lyme disease report some/all of these symptoms.

Bullseye rash (Source:Wikimedia)


If left untreated--or treated insufficiently--Lyme disease may progress to a late-stage or chronic form. Many of the symptoms in this phase of the disease can be a source of chronic pain. Problems stemming from chronic Lyme disease include joint, muscle and other forms of pain, including headaches and neuropathy.  In addition, affected individuals may experience sleep issues, fatigue, cognition problems, depression and cardiac issues.

Our pets can also be affected by Lyme disease, and it can be fatal.  An extensive discussion of that topic is beyond the scope of today's post, but your veterinarian can be of great assistance in this matter. For us humans, it is important to check ourselves and our pets for ticks whenever we may have been exposed.  If a tick is discovered, it should be removed promptly using tweezers or a device especially designed for tick removal.  Contact your physician for further instruction at this point; they will assist you on what to do next.

This is one of those cases where prevention can really pay off.  It's not always easy to immediately if a tick bite has occurred--or if an infection is present--it's not always straightforward.  However, when it is obvious that one of these things has taken place, it really pays to act fast!

Sources: Wikimedia; LymeDisease.org


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