The Signs, Symptoms And Stages Of Lyme Disease

This was originally published on LoriGeurin.com

Lyme disease continues to be a hot topic in the news, likely because it is increasing at an alarming rate due to climate changes and other factors.

Between 2004 and 2009 reported cases of Lyme disease rose 94%. What?!

And they continue to rise today.

Fortunately, many 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.

Lyme is now much more common than AIDS, West Nile Virus, and other vector-borne illnesses.

Knowing what to look out for is crucial.

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.

Signs Symptoms And Stages Of Lyme Disease

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
  • Fainting
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Painful, swollen joints, such as the knees
  • Heart palpitations or Lyme carditis
  • Conjunctivitis, or pink eye
  • Meningitis — swelling of the brain

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
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty thinking or reasoning
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Getting lost, even in familiar areas
  • Anxiety, panic attacks
  • Seizures
  • Tremor
  • Sensitivity to sound, light and smells
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Mood swings, depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Migrating joint and muscle pain
  • Vertigo
  • 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

The Takeaway

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: