Tick-borne Diseases

Symptoms

Lyme disease is known as the Great Imitator.  In fact, many Lyme patients are initially diagnosed with similar illnesses including but not limited to Fibromyalgia, MS, ALS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other debilitating illnesses.  The most definitive sign of Lyme disease is the erythema migrans (EM) bulls-eye rash.  According to the Maine Centers for Disease Control, in 2009 only 43% of Maine’s confirmed Lyme disease patients exhibited the EM rash while 57% did NOT have the rash.  Other symptoms may include Bell’s Palsy, muscle and joint pain, cognitive defects, psychiatric symptoms, sleep disturbances, fatigue, flu like symptoms and a general sense of feeling poorly.  Be especially aware that flu like symptoms do not typically manifest in the summer when the incidence of Lyme is at its peak. If you develop unusual symptoms and live in a tick endemic region, regardless of the season, consider the possibility of a tick-borne infection even if you don’t have the EM rash. Additional tick-borne pathogens including Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis and others may be transmitted by the same tick bite.

Specific Symptoms of Lyme Disease

The physical and emotional impact of Lyme Disease is as diverse as the population it affects.  While some with the illness will continue with a somewhat normal lifestyle, albeit while addressing a host of ongoing health issues, others are totally debilitated. Be aware that multiple symptoms, which may impact the brain, central nervous system, cardiovascular, digestive, respiratory or muscular-skeletal system may be migratory in nature, and sometimes change by the hour, day, week or month.

If you have a number of the symptoms listed below, they may indicate the presence of a tick-borne disease.  While symptoms in of themselves do not constitute a diagnosis of Lyme or other tick-borne illnesses, serious consideration must be given by a physician to a tick-borne illness, especially to those living in a tick endemic area.    

Please note:  Other ailments or illness may cause similar symptoms to manifest.  The following list of symptoms is not proprietary to Lyme and/or tick-borne illnesses. 

Rash

Head, Neck, Face

Eyes/Vision

Ears/Hearing

Digestive and Excretory Systems

Musculo-skeletal System

Respiratory and Circulatory Systems

Neurologic Systems

Psychological well being

Mental Capacity

Reproductive and Sexuality

General well being

Note:  While the above symptoms in of themselves do not constitute a diagnosis of Lyme and/or associated tick-borne illness, taken collectively, they may indicate the presence of an infection, particularly to those living in a tick endemic environment with sudden and unexplained ailments.

See your physician if you remove an embedded deer tick and/or suspect a tick-borne illness.  If symptoms persist after multiple visits, consider a second or third opinion.