Long term symptoms Lyme disease
After the first stage with immediate symptoms, a phase follows in which the bacteria spreads through the body.
When an infection with the Borrelia bacteria is not treated, it can lead to a multisystem disease in the long term. This means that bacteria affects multiple parts of the body. The longer the infection goes untreated, the more damage the bacteria can do.
Long term symptoms
It is well-known that in the long term Lyme disease might affect the nerve system and the brains. The bacteria can quite easily move from the blood stream to the cerebral spinal fluid. The problem is that the brain only has a limited immune response against bacteria that enter the brain. Added to that, it is difficult for antibiotics to move from the blood stream to the cerebral spinal fluid.
When the bacteria damages the nerve system, this is known as nseuroborreliosis (or Lyme neuroborreliosis). The most common neurological symptoms are radiculitis and failure of the facial nerve. The latter is a well-known symptom for children. This so-called facial palsy causes an asymmetrical face. Adults suffer more often from radiculitis; an inflamed nerve at the spot where this comes out of the spinal cord. This often leads to pain in the arms, legs or torso.
The course Lyme disease takes differs from person to person. Examples of other long term symptoms of Lyme disease are:
- Lyme arthritis (inflammation of the joints, especially the knee)
- Carditis (inflammation of the heart)
- Cardia arrhythmia
- Acrodermatitis chronica atrofican, also known as ASA (a skin condition which causes the skin to look like parchment)
The possible symptoms are numerous; making it difficult to make the right diagnosis. A confirmation of an infection with the Borellia bacteria is a good starting point, however. That is why, it is important to get a as complete as possible picture of the present antibodies. For more information on this matter, have a look at our Lyme tests.