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Lyme disease and its unwelcome consequences

Category: Lyme Disease

Lyme disease blood testing is more important than ever, as researchers are becoming more aware of the effects of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, or PTLDS. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines PTLDS as lingering symptoms of the disease, characterized by pain, fatigue, or muscle and joint aches. The New York Times recently published an article on the significance of the disease and how it affects those who experience it.

The Times recently profiled a woman who experienced the symptoms for a decade before receiving a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease. After meeting with a Lyme specialist, Mary Rasenberger was put on the antibiotic Rocephin, and told the source that she finally felt healthy. However, whenever she tried to stop the medication, the symptoms returned in full force. Rasenberger described headaches, aching joints and other ailments that rendered her unable to complete basic exercises.

"These are high-functioning people - couch potatoes don't get Lyme disease," John Aucott, an infectious disease specialist, told the source in regard to PTLDS patients. "They are not crazy, and the doctors who treat them are not evil. These are desperate people trying to get better, and well-intentioned doctors who are trying to help them."

The Times noted that if people get Lyme disease, but are unaware of their condition and go without treatment, they might experience the same debilitating symptoms as Rasenberger. Aucott said that in order to properly treat those with PTLDS, more research funding is necessary.

Preventing PTLDS
The CDC reported that many patients who identify and subsequently treat Lyme disease recover quickly and show no signs of PTLDS later in life. Symptoms of a tick bite include a growing red area at the bite, fatigue, fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes as well as muscle and joint aches. A rash that looks like a bull's-eye - with one red spot in the middle and a rash in the shape of a ring outside it - is indicative of a tick bite. The source noted that the rash will appear in about 75 percent of bite victims, and while it isn't frequently itchy, it will likely be unusually warm to the touch.

Lyme disease blood tests are one way of learning whether a person has a tick bite. Getting diagnosed and treatment in the early stages of Lyme disease is important in preventing PTLDS.

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