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How Is Lyme Neuropathy Treated?

Lyme disease is a complicated infection that has the power to affect various bodily systems. The bacteria that cause Lyme infiltrate the body via the bloodstream and can camp out in joints, tissues, and other areas to evade detection by antibiotics and the body’s defenses. When Lyme manages to cause harm because of its invasion technique, people can experience debilitating symptoms that range in severity and presentation.  

Some areas of the body that can be affected negatively by Lyme bacteria include the central and peripheral nervous systems. These systems are designed to connect the brain with the rest of the body and send nerve signals that play a role in bodily functions, motor skills, and much more. When Lyme disease affects the nervous system, it is referred to as Lyme neuropathy. But what is Lyme neuropathy, exactly? And how is Lyme neuropathy treated? Read on to learn more.

What is Lyme neuropathy?

Lyme neuropathy is the term used to describe the symptoms that occur when Lyme disease affects the nervous system. There are different types of Lyme neuropathy depending on the nerves or area of the nervous system involved.

Cranial nerve involvement neuropathy occurs when nerves at the back of the brain, known as cranial nerves, are infiltrated and damaged by the Lyme bacteria. Peripheral nerve involvement neuropathy is the type that develops when peripheral nerves are affected. Peripheral nerves sit outside the brain and spinal cord and aid in communication between the brain and body. This part of the nervous system helps to control bodily functions and regulate glands that produce hormones. The final type of Lyme neuropathy develops when the central nervous system is affected. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord and controls thought processes, learning, and feelings.

Image by Mark Fletcher-Brown on Unsplash: What is the best treatment for Lyme neuropathy?

What does Lyme neuropathy feel like?

Lyme neuropathy will present with different symptoms depending on what part of the nervous system is being attacked. For example, people may develop facial palsy when Lyme bacteria harm the cranial nerves. Facial palsy is characterized as a loss of muscle control in the face. People that have this symptom experience facial drooping.

People who have their peripheral nerves affected will experience other symptoms, such as:

  • Numbness and tingling in the extremities
  • Shooting, burning, or sharp pains
  • Leg and arm weakness
  • Loss of hand or foot coordination
  • Pain that worsens at night

The involvement of the central nervous system will cause other symptoms to develop when a person has Lyme neuropathy, including:

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Stiff neck

These symptoms are collectively referred to as Lyme meningitis.

Can Lyme disease neuropathy be cured?

Lyme disease can be effectively treated using antibiotics. Because of this, many symptoms, such as those that affect the nervous system, can be cured. In some cases, however, treating Lyme disease isn’t always that simple. That is especially true if someone waits to receive treatment or doesn’t get diagnosed with Lyme disease soon after they contracted it. The severity of Lyme disease also requires a different treatment approach.

Image by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash: Is there a cure for Lyme neuropathy?

Is there Lyme neuropathy treatment?

The treatment used for all cases of Lyme disease is antibiotics. Two antibiotics are used to treat Lyme: doxycycline and ceftriaxone. Using these drugs is the only way to rid the body of the bacteria causing the symptoms.

While Lyme neuropathy may seem more severe than other forms, people tend to recover after eradicating the bacteria with antibiotics. The type of antibiotics and the length of time a person must take the drug varies depending on what part of the nervous system is affected. Other factors, such as a person’s age, medical history, and allergies, are also considered.

For someone with facial palsy due to cranial nerve involvement, a 100 mg oral dose of doxycycline must be taken twice daily for two to three weeks. If a person has central or peripheral nervous system involvement, there are two treatment options: 200 mg of doxycycline orally daily or 2 grams of ceftriaxone given intravenously once per day. These antibiotic courses last two to three weeks.

How long does Lyme neuropathy last?

The length of time a person will have to deal with Lyme neuropathy symptoms tends to vary, because it typically develops in people whose condition has gone untreated for long periods. Because of this, it’s hard to determine how long a person will suffer from symptoms.

It is common for people to fully recover from Lyme neuropathy after getting the proper treatment shortly after they have finished their antibiotic course. However, in some people, neuropathy symptoms can linger six months or longer after treatment. There is no way to determine who will experience long-term symptoms and who will recover promptly after treatment.

Lyme neuropathy is not easy to deal with. It can be scary, especially when the symptoms become severe and resemble other chronic diseases. The good news is that many people with Lyme neuropathy recover soon after treatment with the right antibiotics.

Featured image by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

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Laboratory Testing For Identifying PANDAS

PANDAS stands for “Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections”. PANDAS is typically diagnosed when a child has a strep infection and develops other disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a tic disorder, or both. If a child already has either one of these disorders, a strep infection that makes them worse could also be considered PANDAS. 

When symptoms develop, they do so quite suddenly. For example, a child may be completely fine when they go to bed at night and wake up with dramatic symptoms such as vocal or motor tics, new compulsions, or obsessions. Other signs of PANDAS can include anxiety attacks, separation anxiety, and irritability. It can be hard to determine if a child has PANDAS because there is no single test available – it takes quite a lot of investigation to come to a positive diagnosis. So how does laboratory testing for identifying PANDAS work? Read on to learn more.

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Neurological Complications Of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease can create a range of different health issues if left untreated. Unfortunately, because the early stages of Lyme disease are so non-specific in terms of symptoms, many people may be completely unaware that they even have the infection. For people who don’t immediately think about tick bites when they feel flu symptoms come on, the possibility of Lyme disease is the furthest thing from their mind.

Unfortunately, having Lyme disease over the long term can lead to various debilitating symptoms – but diagnosing Lyme disease or getting it treated before it turns into something more sinister isn’t always the way things go for people who contract the infection. So what are the many health issues caused by chronic Lyme? Can neurological symptoms be one of them? Read on for all you need to know about the potential neurological complications of Lyme disease.

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5 Ways Lyme Patients Can Relieve Symptoms Of Brain Fog

When it comes to Lyme disease, there is no shortage of debilitating symptoms. The infection has only one course of treatment: antibiotics. Once these have been administered, though, the effects of the bacteria can potentially linger in the body for years. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). It is a chronic illness that can only be managed with other medications, other treatment like diet and exercise recommendations, and patience.

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3 Ways Lyme Disease Can Damage The Nervous System

Even though it all stems from one tiny tick bite, Lyme disease can wreak havoc on the entire body. Many symptoms of Lyme are generalized and are often mistaken for other diseases. They manifest in different ways depending on the patient, and even within the same person they can appear inconsistent and misleading. Compounding this is the fact that Lyme exists within a medical grey area. It is undoubtedly a real condition, with hundreds upon thousands of sufferers all over the world. However, it is also not fully recognized in its chronic form. Unfortunately, the late stages of the disease are the most damaging, and it’s here that patients require the most care and consideration. Symptoms are varied and debilitating, primarily affecting muscles and joints. But neurological symptoms can also occur in some cases. So what is the link between Lyme disease and the nervous system?

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