Between 2004 and 2009 reported cases of Lyme disease rose 94%.
And the number of cases continue to rise today.
Fortunately, people are starting to take notice of this disturbing trend.
But, if Lyme disease continues to spread, often unrecognized and untreated, it won’t take long before everyone either knows someone who has it, or they have it themself.
Knowing what to look out for is crucial.
I’ve been living with late-stage chronic Lyme for the past 5 years. I don’t want anyone to have to go through this horrible illness and believe prevention is essential.
I’m going to share the signs, symptoms, and stages of Lyme disease below so you know what to watch for. I truly hope this will help you protect yourself and your loved ones.
1. Early Localized Lyme Disease (1 to 4 weeks)
This stage can develop from days to weeks after becoming infected.
Symptoms may include:
- Rashes – Less that 50% of Lyme patients remember developing a rash. Sometimes the rash looks like a bulls-eye. This is referred to as erythema migrans (EM). It is a myth that you must have this rash to have Lyme disease (1). I did not ever see a bull-eye rash, but have developed a number of unusual red and splotchy rashes since the tick bites (for more on rashes, keep reading below).
- Flu-like symptoms, such as fever and chills, fatigue, headache, pain or stiffness in the neck and swollen lymph nodes (2).
- Nausea, dizziness and vomiting
Stage 2: Early Disseminated Lyme Disease Infection (1 to 4 months)
This stage develops when the disease is not found and/or treated properly soon after infection. At this point the infection can begin to affect the joints, heart, nervous system and skin.
Symptoms may include:
- More rashes that start to appear in different parts of the body due to the infection spreading
- Paralysis of the facial muscles, or Bell’s Palsy
- Headaches or migraines
- Painful, swollen joints, such as the knees
- Heart palpitations or Lyme carditis
- Conjunctivitis, or pink eye
- Meningitis – swelling of the brain
Stage 3: Late Persistent Lyme Disease, Or Chronic Lyme
Failure to treat Lyme promptly can cause damage to the brain, joints and nervous system. This is the most serious stage.
Symptoms may include:
- Extreme exhaustion which is not relieved by sleeping or resting
- Inability to control facial muscles
- Heart problems, such as pericarditis
- Tingling and numbness of the hands and feet
- Arthritis, often in the larger joints, such as the knees
- Short-term memory loss
- Difficulty thinking or reasoning
- Difficulty speaking
- Getting lost, even in familiar areas
- Anxiety, panic attacks
- Sensitivity to sound, light and smells
- Headaches and migraines
- Mood swings, depression
- Sleep disorders
- Migrating joint and muscle pain
- Difficulty hearing
- Vision difficulties
- Weight gain or loss
- “Air hunger”
- Pain in the chest or ribs
- “Heart block”
- Neck pain, stiffness and cracking
- Night sweats
- Erectile dysfunction
- Heart murmur or valve prolapse
- Light-headedness, dizziness
- Menstrual irregularity
This list of signs, symptoms and stages of Lyme disease is not exhaustive. I’ve talked to a lot of people with Lyme and many of our symptoms are similar, but others are different.
My friend, if you are struggling with an illness and the doctors have been unable to help you, you may want to consider this list to help you rule out (or in) Lyme disease, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors or live in a tick-infested area.
And of course, if you know you’ve been bit by a tick, mosquito, etc and aren’t feeling well, please get yourself checked out immediately.
Here is a list of doctors who specialize in treating Lyme patients. I would highly recommend starting here.
Do you have any of these symptoms? Or do you have an unexplained illness and can’t seem to get answers?
Please share your comments below in the comment section. I love hearing from you!
For more on Lyme disease, you may want to check out:
- Celebrities With Lyme Disease
- Is Chronic Lyme Disease Real? Part 1
- Is Chronic Lyme Disease Real? Part 2
- Lyme Disease Awareness
- Warning: Lyme Disease Is Spreading Faster Than AIDS
- Living With Lyme Disease, Part 1
- Living With Lyme Disease, Part 2
- Author Marlena Lewis Writes About Life Struggles And Lyme Disease
- Experts Caution Increased Lyme Disease Risk : Reports Of Possible Tickmageddon On The Rise
- 16 Vital Facts About Lyme Disease: A National Epidemic
- Why Do People With Lyme Disease Not Catch Colds And The Flu?
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Finally, the information provided in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat, prevent, diagnose or cure any disease or health problem.