While undoubtedly a prolific affliction, Lyme disease remains something of a mystery to many medical professionals. It’s an odd, enigmatic disease, that mutates and transforms the longer it stays in the body. It is spread by ticks, who attach themselves to humans by a variety of transference methods; most likely, people will become infected with the disease when they’re out walking in the country. Long grass is an especially prolific place for ticks to lie in wait; often people don’t realise they’ve been bitten, and as the tick migrates across the body and settles in a secluded spot, it becomes harder to locate and deal with it.
Many people think that Lyme disease is a difficult condition to define and treat, and that’s certainly the case as the longer it stays in a patient’s system. However, many don’t realise that Lyme is actually very simple to treat, and diagnose, the earlier it’s detected. Acute Lyme disease, which is the initial onset of the disorder, has a couple of particularly distinct symptoms which greatly help doctors in their diagnosis. The onset of acute Lyme generally lasts for a few months without treatment; after that the symptoms can recede for a period, before reemerging with a completely new, more insidious set of symptoms. This transformation has led to a distinct difficulty in separating the two, with a large number of medical professionals even claiming that chronic Lyme disease isn’t a legitimate condition.
Unfortunately, it very much is, but the good news is that there are a number of ways to differentiate between acute and chronic Lyme, meaning that potential patients can be aware of the differences between the two.
A Rash is Present with Acute Lyme
A bullseye rash is the ultimate telltale symptom of acute Lyme disease. The rash is red in the centre, and features another red ring encircling it. It’s present in approx 50% of patients and will generally appear a few days after a tick bite. It’s the singular best indicator because no other disease presents with a similar rash. Doctors will immediately be able diagnose Lyme, and treat accordingly. This rash will fade after a few weeks, and when it does, Lyme becomes much harder to detect. If you’ve recently been bitten by a tick, or have spent some time in wooded, grassy areas, check your body every night for the presence of this distinctive rash; it’s the best way to deal with with the risk of Lyme.
Acute Lyme will Feel Like an Infection
Along with the rash, acute Lyme often presents a variety of flu-like symptoms that often hit patients all at once. Although these are often not severe, they do all appear together, similar to a virus, which gives this phase of Lyme it’s ‘acute’ title. These symptoms include a fever, headaches, fatigue and general body pains, which often leads to misdiagnosis as flu. This can be a huge oversight, as these initial infection-like manifestations soon distill into much more insidious types of symptoms.
But in the Long Run, Chronic Lyme is More Debilitating
Although acute Lyme appears to be more immediately debilitating, if left unchecked, chronic Lyme can seriously decrease the patient’s quality of life. As it gets more entrenched in the person’s system, the symptoms become harder to delineate, appearing more as a form of chronic weakness than anything quantifiable. Of course, there are some specific symptoms present when it comes to chronic Lyme; notably - severe joint pain and swelling, loss of mobility, short-term memory and concentration problems and numbness in hands and feet.
Chronic Lyme Can Often be Mistaken for Other Disorders
While acute Lyme can often be mistaken for flu if the telltale rash isn’t identified early, the symptoms of chronic Lyme make it liable to be mistaken for a host of other disorders. These are often serious diseases, like MS or fibromyalgia, which can set patients down a completely wrong treatment path while leaving the underlying cause misdiagnosed. This is a pervasive problem in medical fields across the world, as only a few doctors understand the implications of chronic Lyme and how to treat it. Progressive companies such as Make Well are also aiding the fight against Lyme with their range of all natural supplements, and are particularly knowledgeable about the often-misunderstood condition of chronic Lyme disease.
Acute Lyme is Far Easier to Treat
Lyme disease is often referred to as ‘the great imitator’, because of its tendency to mimic other diseases. This is particularly true when the disease reaches the chronic stages; if the doctors manage to catch it soon after infection, it’s actually much easier to treat, and can usually be taken care of with a round of antibiotics. In fact, people treated with the appropriate antibiotics usually make a complete and rapid recovery. Chronic Lyme disease is a much more difficult beast to grapple with, for doctors and patients alike. When possible, it is far better to be alert for tick bites and acute Lyme symptoms, to halt the disease before it can grip the body in its chronic form.