LYME DISEASE DIAGNOSIS TAKE CARE TO HAVE A VALIDATED TEST!
ELISA test + Western blot test + EIA + IFA + Polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Lyme tests are often incorrect. The 2-tiered antibody testing approach is recommended, but single-tier and nonvalidated tests are also used. For example the commercial rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) has no value. The accuracy of the test depends upon the stage of disease, During the first few weeks of infection, the test is expected to be negative. The tests can be also false negative when there are no antibodies, because of former antibiotic treatment. Also get tested for other tickborne diseases (co-infections). Get in contact with a Lyme center to get a thorough diagnostic testing.
Back pain and neck pain can mimic Lyme disease: where is your pain coming from?
Lyme disease affects different areas of the body in varying degrees as it progresses. The site where the tick bites the body is where the bacteria enter through the skin. Days to weeks later, as the bacteria spread in the skin away from the initial tick bite, the infection causes an expanding reddish rash that is often associated with “flu-like” symptoms. Later, it can produce abnormalities in the joints, heart, and nervous system. Lyme disease is medically described in three phases as: (1) early localized disease with skin inflammation; (2) early disseminated disease with heart and nervous system involvement, including palsies and meningitis; and (3) late disease featuring motor and sensory nerve damage and brain inflammation as well as arthritis. In the early phase of the illness, within days to weeks of the tick bite, the skin around the bite develops an expanding ring of unraised redness. There may be an outer ring of brighter redness with or without a central area of clearing, leading to a “bull’s-eye” appearance. This classic initial rash is called “erythema migrans” (formerly called erythema chronicum migrans). Patients often can’t recall the tick bite (the ticks can be as small as the periods in this paragraph). Also, they may not have the identifying rash to signal the doctor. The rash may or may not itch. More than one in four patients never even develop a rash. The redness of the skin is often accompanied by generalized fatigue, muscle and joint stiffness and pain,swollen lymph nodes (“swollen glands”), headache, and less often fever, resembling symptoms of a virus infection. The redness resolves, without treatment, in about a month. Weeks to months after the initial redness of the skin the bacteria and their effects spread throughout the body. Subsequently, disease in the joints, heart, and nervous system can occur.
The later phases of Lyme disease can affect the heart, causing inflammation of the heart muscle. This can result in abnormal heart rhythmsand heart failure. The nervous system signs can include facial muscleparalysis (Bell’s palsy), abnormal sensation due to disease of peripheral nerves (peripheral neuropathy), meningitis, and confusion. Arthritis, or inflammation in the joints, begins with swelling, stiffness, and pain. Usually, only one or a few joints become affected, most commonly the knees. The arthritis of Lyme disease can look like many other types of inflammatory arthritis and can become chronic.
Researchers have also found that anxiety and depression occur with an increased rate in people with Lyme disease. This is another important aspect of the evaluation and management of this condition.