Lyme Disease Doctor

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Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms

Written by Dr. Diane Mueller

Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms are typically varied in picture. 

Commonly, chronic Lyme disease symptoms are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Symptoms can include a variety of the following (and almost always have a significant number of the following included):

chronic lyme disease symptoms
  • Dizziness
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headaches and neck stiffness
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Arthritis (in particular knees and elbows)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Spinal pain
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Autonomic dysfunction (POTS)
  • Hallucinations
  • Rage/Anger/Mood Instability
  • Tendency towards other infections
  • Memory loss/brain fog/cognitive dysfunction
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Other neurological issues (see our blog Lyme Disease Neurological Symptoms)
  • Digestive Dysfunction
  • Fibromyalgia or other pains
  • Cardiac problems and arrhythmias 
  • Light/sound sensitivity

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Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms may be a result of lack of early diagnosis, but it can also come from improper treatment. The standard treatment of doxycycline has been shown to kill the blood-borne of Borrelia (the bacteria that causes Lyme), but can drive the Borrelia deeper into the tissues. Sometimes, when Lyme is treated incorrectly in the acute stage, it can lead to bigger problems by turning into a chronic condition. This situation happens way too frequently and is one reason why people have some of the symptoms listed above and many years of misdiagnosis. 

One of the take home points from this article hopefully for you is an understanding that Lyme Disease and the bacteria Borrelia that causes it can cause such a widespread host of symptoms, especially in the chronic form. Therefore, if you cannot figure out what is wrong with you and if you commonly have the experience of medical professionals telling you things look basically fine on your bloodwork, but you know something is wrong, consider Lyme Disease. 

You will find other articles on this blog site about treatment. While some of the principles for acute versus chronic treatment are the same, one thing is different about the treatment of chronic Lyme Disease symptoms. 

Because you have likely had this disease for years or even decades, there is a likelihood that you will react to initial treatment strategies. As Borrelia dies, it will release its toxins. If you are in a chronic stage of Lyme Disease, Borrelia has likely disseminated throughout your body and made a home in many tissues. There will be a lot of microorganisms to kill and therefore a lot of toxins that will be released. In order to properly treat chronic Lyme Disease symptoms, you will want to go slow and make sure your detoxification systems in your body are working properly for this.  You can see our blog on Lyme Disease Treatment to learn more about this as well.

As mentioned, sometimes chronic Lyme disease symptoms occur post-treatment. This is often referred to as post-treatment Lyme disease symptoms. It is estimated in some research that 10% of those that have been treated for acute Lyme suffer from post-treatment disease, however, due to the lack of connecting long-term disease with earlier diagnosis, we expect that this number is likely a lot higher.

Schmid H, Heininger U. Posttreatment Lyme Disease Syndrome-What It Might Be and What It Is Not. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2021 May 1;40(5S):S31-S34. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000002772. PMID: 34042908.

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Lyme Disease is Often Misdiagnosed as Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Depression,
or Other Illnesses

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