Almost everyone has heard of Lyme disease. Unfortunately, what was once a rather obscure diagnosis has now become commonplace, with more than 200,000 people being diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. Some people would even argue that it is quickly reaching epidemic proportions. The truth is, most people don’t really know that much about the disease, other than the fact that it can come from a tick bite. However, it is important to know things like what causes it, know the symptoms and better yet, know how to protect yourself. The goal is not to get the disease to begin with but if you are diagnosed with it, knowing everything you can about Lyme disease can help you and your healthcare professional combat the disease more effectively.
Causes of Lyme Disease
The disease is caused when a tick infected with a particular bacteria bites you. In some cases, even animals that have been infected with the illness can transmit it to humans if they bite them. For most people, Lyme disease is not really that big of a deal. In fact, the overwhelming number of individuals recover completely and quickly as long as they have the proper antibiotics to combat the infection. Unfortunately, some individuals are more sensitive to this particular bacteria, largely because they have a compromised immune system to begin with. For these people, Lyme disease can go on for months or even years. In some cases, it can cause a whole host of other problems, even including chronic illnesses that last a lifetime. In the most severe cases, Lyme disease can lead to other conditions which could prove to be fatal. This is however extremely rare and usually only happens to individuals who already have health problems.
The first symptom most people notice is a rash that looks like a bull’s-eye. Think of it like looking at the lines on a dart board. If you have a rash that looks like this, it is of vital importance that you seek medical treatment right away. The most important thing you can do for Lyme disease is get treated as quickly as possible. The last thing that you ever want to do is fail to seek treatment or wait for too long before you do so. The longer you wait, the greater the chances that you will experience serious complications related to the initial infection.
In addition to the rash, most people experience extreme fatigue and in some cases, they even have symptoms that are similar to the flu. If the infection isn’t dealt with quickly enough, it is possible to develop pain and weakness, as well as stiffness in the joints. In some cases, the fatigue can be so crushing that it is virtually impossible to carry out the daily tasks associated with normal life. Some people even find themselves too exhausted to go to work. For a person that is extremely susceptible to the disease, other diseases can occur as a direct result of the initial infection. For some, this includes permanent nerve damage, symptoms similar to rheumatoid arthritis and in rare cases, even heart problems.
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