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Lyme Disease Can Cause Arthritis

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Lyme disease is an infectious, parasitic disease caused by a tick bite, usually from a deer or sheep tick. The bacterium Borrelia Burgdorferi then gets into the bloodstream via the bite, where it causes illness.

There is an incubation period that can last up to a month before you develop the disease, or you could start having symptoms as little as two days later.

What are the initial symptoms of Lyme Disease?:

• A circular rash called erythema migrans, beginning at the site of the tick bite – this occurs in about 80 percent of sufferers

• Extreme tiredness and/or flu-like symptoms
• Headache
• Enlarged glands
• Stiff neck
• Sensitivity to light
• Muscle aches
• Fever and/or chills

If the initial symptoms are not treated promptly, the bacteria can spread around the body and cause medical problems such as heart palpitations, Bell’s palsy (a paralysis of the muscles of the face), meningitis and neurological problems leading to poor memory and concentration. Sixty percent of people with untreated lyme disease get arthritis as a result and may suffer from severe swelling and joint pains and reduced mobility. If you suspect you have lyme disease, seek medical advice immediately.


Treatment is with antibiotics and if they are given straight away, the person usually recovers completely without any lasting illness or disability.

How can I Prevent Tick Bites?:

Animals that carry ticks are more prevalent in wooded and farmed areas, so if you go walking, stick to organised nature trails and don’t go into heavy bush.
If you work in the farming industry, use tick control products on your sheep.
People who go deer hunting are at increased risk of getting tick bourne illness, so consider not hunting.

Use an insect repellent when you are outdoors, particularly in the summer months.
If you have a tick attached to you, remove it immediately with a pair of tweezers. Ticks who have been attached for less than 24 hours don’t usually cause lyme disease.

The CDC website.
Lyme Disease Action, UK.

Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting, in addition to running a charity for people damaged by vaccines or medical mistakes.

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EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for helping to raise awareness about Lyme. A lot of people are still not well informed about how serious it can be. If left untreated it can be terrible. I found this website to be a good resource if you have questions about Lyme: http://www.lyme-disease-research-database.com

April 20, 2010 - 11:11am

Thanks for bringing up the topic of Lyme disease. I've only just found this forum and the wealth of information looks really great.

I've had Lyme disease for 25 years but it took 20 years to find out. I'm now taking antibiotics but it was hard to get a doctor to understand that the infection was still there after all those years. My face had a kind of bell's palsy for 8 months. I never got the Bulls Eye rash at the beginning, even though there were 12 ticks on my shins. But when I began treatment the rash came out as several small red ring-shapes on my legs. I am slightly better - the vertigo has gone, but the longer the time before treatment, the longer it takes to get better. I might have got permanent damage to my heart and nerves but I am still optimistic that I will slowly get my life back.

It's so difficult in the UK to find a doctor who knows how to treat Lyme. Together with some other patients I've started a petition called the UK Lyme Petition. One of us would have had her little toddler lose his eyesight if she had not gone and found a private doctor. The NHS is supposed to cover all of our health costs but refuses to believe that treatment will help us, so we get more and more sick unless we can find a private doctor and afford to pay. Antibiotics have helped a lot of us recover almost completely. One of my friends lost her job - she was diagnosed with Polymyalgia Rheumatica for about 2 or 3 years. Now she is like a new person with no arthritis pain and able to ride a bike, do her garden, everything she thought she would never do again.

here's the petition link : http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/uklymepetition/

here's my friend's link : http://lookingatlyme.blogspot.com/

If you are in the UK or live and work in the UK, please support us
- even if you don't want to sign it until you find out more, please have a look at some of the comments from those who have already signed. Thank you. Best wishes and better health to all of us and our families and friends!

April 20, 2010 - 1:32am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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