Lyme disease infects people through the bite of a small tick. The actual organism which causes the disease is a bacteria named borrelia burgdorferi. These bacteria and ticks who carry them are commonly found in forested areas of the Northeast, Pacific Northwest and Midwest. Most individuals who contract Lyme disease go through an initial round of fairly mild symptoms and then recover. Some people develop complications months or years later if the initial infection was left untreated. Actually, catching Lyme disease in its early stages and treating it with antibiotics often prevents the development of long-term complications.
Some symptoms of the neurological damage done by Lyme disease may include mood swings, a loss of memory, difficulty remembering things or concentrating, and muscle weakness. The University of Maryland Medical Center have warned that meningitis, poor motor coordination and Bell’s palsy, a temporary paralysis of facial muscles, can also occur. Symptoms that meningitis may have taken hold in the brain include headaches and neck stiffness. Intravenous application of antibiotics for 14 -28 days will cure the bacterial infection that causing Lyme disease. However, symptoms may take longer to dissipate. The standard antibiotics can used in the treatment of late stage Lyme disease include ceftriaxone and penicillin.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, fewer than 10% of infected people develop heart problems. Heart problems associated with Lyme disease include irregularities in heart rhythm, including heart palpitations or a slowing of the heart rate. Less obvious symptoms of heart issues can be caused due to Lyme disease include light-headedness, shortness of breath and fainting. Chest pain may also occur in some individuals.
There is a specific type of arthritis named Lyme arthritis that may develop in some individuals exposed to Lyme disease, according to MayoClinic.com. The arthritis from Lyme disease usually strikes the knees and arthritic attacks can last a few months at a time. During an attack, joints can feel painful and start to swell. Antibiotics can be used to treat chronic Lyme disease that presents with arthritis symptoms. Pain medication and siphoning fluid from swollen joints will help ease sore, arthritic joints. Approximately 60% of untreated people with Lyme disease will go on to develop arthritis and for 10 -20 %, the arthritis will be chronic.