Lyme disease is a dangerously debilitating disorder that can cripple a patient in many different ways. Because the symptoms of Lyme are largely caused by each sufferer’s autoimmune response, the type and severity of debilitation can vary from case-to-case. However, one thing is for certain; if Lyme is allowed to progress past its acute stage, there’s no telling how much damage it can visit upon a patient’s body. Nobody knows this better than the BCA Clinic, who are specialists in holistically treating tick-borne diseases such as Lyme. They have witnessed many varied incidents of the chronic form of the condition, and know exactly how devastating it can be if left unchecked. As education is an important weapon in combating the spread of this most insidious of diseases, here are five critical ways a patient can be chronically debilitated by Lyme.
1 – Joint and Muscle Pain
The joint and muscle pain regularly experienced by Lyme patients is not a product of the disease itself, but rather a direct product of the body’s response to it. Inflammation causes muscles and joints to swell and redden, leading to chronic pain and impaired mobility. To lessen this symptom, it is necessary to eliminate all Lyme bacteria from the body, making it a hard task to fully return a patient to normal. For those suffering from chronic Lyme, joint and muscle pain is likely to be with them for a long time. This makes it an extremely debilitating result of the infection, which recurs in patients for many years.
2 – Neurological Complications
If left unchecked, the Lyme bacteria can spread to the brain, impairing the patient’s thought process, memory, and cognitive ability. These are rarely severe symptoms, but more a sense of general cloudiness in the head, a term often described as ‘brain fog’. Thinking isn’t as clear as it used to be, and it can sometimes feel like your head is full of cotton wool, or like you’re watching the world through a pane of glass. Although these type of symptoms are a relatively rarity among Lyme sufferers, they can still be extremely debilitating and worrying for patients, especially if they don’t know what they’re dealing with. They can affect all aspects of a person’s lifestyle, from workplace productivity to social interactions, and cause people to feel like they’re losing clarity in the way they perceive the world.
3 – Chronic Fatigue
Having any sort of infection wears a body down, but Lyme is particularly unrelenting. The result is a sense of chronic fatigue, which can be so extreme that some patients can’t find the energy to even get out of bed in the morning. This fatigue stems from the same source as the joint and muscle pain regularly experienced by patients; in essence, it’s the body attempting to fight back against the disease that causes the constant sense of tiredness. This can be a surprisingly debilitating symptom for some patients, and can usually override any other Lyme byproduct to be the single most disruptive result of the disease. Also, the fatigue won’t lift no matter how much sleep the patient gets; because the body is always in a state of tension and essentially combat, no amount of rest will ever relieve this troubling symptom. It has to be dealt with at the source.
3 – Depression and Anxiety
All of these symptoms can conspire to cause major mental health symptoms in sufferers of Lyme. The constant pain and fatigue can easily cause many patients to feel depressed; battling with feelings of lethargy and emptiness all day, compounded by constant pains and aches, can easily lead to full blown depression when left unmonitored. If Lyme sufferers don’t know they’re actually suffering from Lyme, and their doctor is at a complete loss of how to help them, or has misdiagnosed them (a common and unfortunate occurrence for many patients), anxiety can also easily set in. Patients might start to wonder if they’ll ever feel well again, leading to further depression and feelings of helplessness when they realise their condition is chronic. Solid education about Lyme and the right treatment plan can help to combat these debilitating mental symptoms.
5 – Mental Strain
This last one is not so much a result of the condition itself, but more a symptom of people’s reactions to it. Chronic Lyme disease is often so derided by the mainstream medical community that patients sometimes feel like they have nowhere to turn to. In fact, it’s not even a legitimately recognised condition in the medical profession, making it very hard for patients to make themselves heard. This is slowly changing, with chronic Lyme getting wider recognition and visibility thanks to a number of high profile cases, but the damage to long-term patients has already been done. Lyme is on the rise all over the world, and is in danger of becoming a legitimate pandemic. The more we know and educate ourselves about the trials and tribulations of the disease, the better equipped we’ll be to fight back against it.