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Lyme Disease Symptoms

Lyme Disease: Symptoms & Side Effects

Lyme disease is a tick-born illness with over 150 symptoms, usually involving multiple systems. There are three stages of Lyme disease: early localized, early disseminated, and late persistent. If left untreated, it may progress into long-term disabilities. However, it is important to note that Lyme disease can lie dormant in your body for a prolonged period of time, and will invade when your immune system is compromised.



Digestive and Excretory Systems

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Irritable bladder (trouble starting, stopping)
  • Upset stomach (nausea or pain)

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  • Double or blurry vision
  • Increased floating spots
  • Pain in eyes, or swelling around eyes
  • Oversensitivity to light
  • Flashing lights
  • Ears/Hearing
  • Decreased hearing in one or both ears
  • Buzzing in ears
  • Pain in ears, oversensitivity to sound
  • Ringing in one or both ears

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Female Specific

  • Unexplained menstrual pain, irregularity
  • Unexplained breast pain, discharge
  • Pelvic pain

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General Well Being

  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Swollen glands
  • Unexplained fevers (high- or low-grade)
  • Continual infections (sinus, kidney, eye, etc.)
  • Symptoms seem to change, come and go
  • Pain migrates (moves) to different body parts
  • Early on, experienced a flu-like illness, after which you have not since felt well

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Head, Face, Neck

  • Unexplained hair loss
  • Headache, mild or severe
  • Twitching of facial or other muscles
  • Facial paralysis (Bell’s palsy)
  • Tingling of nose, cheek, or face
  • Stiff or painful neck, creaks and cracks
  • Jaw pain or stiffness
  • Sore throat

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Mental Capacity

  • Memory loss (short or long term)
  • Confusion, difficulty in thinking
  • Difficulty with concentration or reading
  • Going to the wrong place
  • Speech difficulty (slurred or slow)
  • Stammering speech
  • Forgetting how to perform simple tasks

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Musculoskeletal System

  • Any joint pain or swelling
  • Stiffness of joints, back, neck
  • Muscle pain or cramps

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Neurological System

  • Tremors or unexplained shaking
  • Burning or stabbing sensations in the body
  • Weakness or partial paralysis
  • Pressure in the head
  • Numbness in body, tingling, pinpricks
  • Poor balance, dizziness, difficulty walking
  • Increased motion sickness
  • Lightheadedness, wooziness

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Psychological Well-being

  • Mood swings, irritability
  • Unusual depression
  • Disorientation (getting or feeling lost)
  • Feeling as if you are losing your mind
  • Overemotional reactions, crying easily
  • Too much sleep or insomnia
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep

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Reproduction and Sexuality

  • Loss of sex drive
  • Sexual dysfunction

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Respiratory and Circulatory Systems

  • Shortness of breath, cough
  • Chest pain or rib soreness
  • Night sweats or unexplained chills
  • Heart palpitations or extra beats
  • Heart blockage

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The Tick Bite

  • Tick bite (deer, dog, or other)
  • Rash at site of tick bite
  • Rashes on other parts of your body
  • Rash (basically circular – called “bulls-eye” rash) and spreading out
  • Raised rash, disappearing and returning

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**This list was compiled by Denise Lang, author of “Coping with Lyme Disease” but is by no means conclusive. If you suspect you have Lyme disease, visit www.lymediseaseassociation.org to find a Lyme-literate doctor in your area.

Michelle McKeon

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