Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread to humans by ticks infected with the Borrelia bacteria.
Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures found in the countryside. They feed on the blood of animals, including humans. Ticks that carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease are found throughout the UK.
Many people with early-stage Lyme disease develop a distinctive bulls-eye rash around the area of the tick bite. This usually occurs about 4 weeks after being bitten and may expand over several days or weeks. It’s also common to experience flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, joint pains, headache and fever.
If you have been recently bitten by a tick and have any of the symptoms above its important to see your GP. Lyme disease can often be resolved with antibiotics if treated quickly.
If left untreated, or if the treatment isn’t effective it’s possible for Lyme Disease to become chronic
Typically, the symptoms of chronic Lyme disease include:
- Restless sleep
- Chronic pain
- Aching joints or muscles
- Decreased short-term memory or ability to concentrate
- Problems affecting the nervous system – such as numbness and pain in your limbs, paralysis of your facial muscles
- Heart problems
- Inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord
- Speech problems
The symptoms are often similar to chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and certain autoimmune diseases. Testing for and ruling out Lyme in these cases is a vital part of understanding the root cause.
The Borrelia IgG and IgM Blot Test is a blood test that can be used to confirm whether a person has been exposed to the Lyme Disease Borrelia bacteria
The Lyme Disease Profile is a more comprehensive test that provides information on the activity of the infection. It measures the presence of the Borrelia infection, the number of activated immune cells, and whether an active or a latent phase of the infection is present.
Lyme Disease testing is recommended for people who:
- Have the signs and symptoms of a chronic Lyme Disease infection.
- Suffer from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia or autoimmune disease and think they may have been exposed to Lyme.