▷ 10 Signs You May Have Chronic Lyme Disease…And Not Even Know It

10 Signs You May Have Chronic Lyme Disease…And Not Even Know It

By Melissa Lind / November 19, 2014
chronic lyme disease

Lyme disease was named for Lyme County, Connecticut, where the disease was first identified. The disease is caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium known as Borrelia burgdoferi. It is a spirochete that is transmitted by a tick, most commonly the Deer Tick, also known as the black-legged tick, which can be smaller than a sesame seed.

Post Summary

Chronic (aka persistent or post-treatment) Lyme disease refers to symptoms that continue after antibiotic treatment. It is an imprecise term that can describe a number of ailments, but all are potentially related to undiagnosed or untreated Lyme infection. Do you have any of the symptoms below?

Acute Lyme Disease

Acute Lyme disease causes symptoms that develop after a tick bite such as the traditional bulls-eye rash known as erythema migrans (EM), flu-like symptoms and other rashes. The acute phase of Lyme disease is very hard to specifically diagnose unless a tick and the EM rash are clearly present. ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) reports that up to 50 percent of patients never had a rash and up to 50 percent of patients didn’t know they had a tick bite at all.

Many people still believe Lyme disease occurs primarily in the Northeastern part of the United States, but Lyme disease has been found in many parts of the country although it is still more prevalent in the Eastern US. The test used to detect Lyme disease is also fairly unreliable and may miss up to 35 percent of all cases. Additionally, blood testing does not always identify antibodies against the spirochete making detection more difficult.

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Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms

Chronic Lyme symptoms can occur months or even years after the first infection and may last just as long. Many patients begin to experience symptoms of Chronic Lyme disease much later than the infection date making the symptoms appear to have come out of nowhere.

10 Signs that may indicate Chronic Lyme Disease:
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Eye inflammation
  • Liver inflammation
  • Joint inflammation
  • Insomnia
  • Severe fatigue
  • Neurological problems including memory loss, headaches, dizziness, confusion
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Mood changes
  • Sensitivity to light

Chronic Lyme disease can affect the skin, brain, nervous system, muscles, bones, cartilage, and every other body system. This is a truly pernicious disease.

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Chronic Lyme Disease Treatment

The Mayo Clinic reports the use of oral antibiotics including doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cephalosporin for 10 to 21 days or IV antibiotics for 14 to 28 days are quite an effective treatment and most patients recover quickly and completely within a few weeks.

Alternative Treatments for Chronic Lyme Disease

While antibiotics are often used in the treatment of Lyme with varying degrees of success, it is the alternative treatments that have been the most helpful for many patients and have been viewed as “what saved me.” As with many alternative treatments however, there is little clinical research to support their claimed effectiveness.

Nonetheless, many alternative practitioners advise the use of the following:

  • Acupuncture – Though it won’t treat the infection, it has been useful for managing pain and other symptoms. It may also help to activate the immune system or increase the overall health of the patient.
  • Herbs to treat infection – Herbal medications that have shown anti-infective activity such as Cat’s Claw, Stephania, Samento, and Japanese knot-weed are thought to be helpful.
  • Probiotics – As the majority of the immune system is centered in the gut, the consumption of probiotics such as organic yogurt, kefir, and supplements containing lactobacillus bacteria may be of use. This is particularly important as many Lyme patients have digestive issues.
  • Herbs with anti-inflammatory effects – Herbs such as Turmeric, Ginger, Garlic, Cinnamon, and Boswellia may be of some use to decrease inflammation. Again, this will not treat the infection but may help some body systems to heal and may help to reduce painful symptoms.
  • Exercise – Many people diagnosed with Lyme find themselves fatigued. With light exercise however, one can experience improved blood flow and oxygenation to muscles and other body tissues which can help eliminate some inflammation and increase their overall energy levels.

At present in the traditional medical community, it remains a disease that is little understood, difficult to diagnose and with limited treatment options. Alternative treatments may be more effective and are certainly easier to obtain. If you suspect that you have Lyme disease, look for a physician who has taken the ILADS education program.

This is just the start of what you need to know about Lyme disease. Take a look at our Lyme disease topic page to get a broader understanding of this complicated and perplexing disease.


About the author

Melissa Lind

Melissa Lind holds a degree from the University Of Texas College Of Pharmacy and has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare field including pharmacy practice, clinical research and community college instruction. Melissa has been freelance writer and health-blogger, specializing in health and lifestyle topics since 2006 and has been published on sites such as eHow.com, Livestrong.com and Livewell.com.

Mike - June 2, 2015

Hi Melissa. I am halfway through David Perlmutter’s book BRAIN MAKER which deals with the immune system in the gut and the subsequent loss of immune – friendly bacteria and I’m wondering if diet has shown to improve the condition of Lime Disease?

    Sabrina Wilson - June 5, 2015

    We have an article coming out this week on diet and Lyme disease, I think it’s a big part of recovery.

shathi - August 7, 2015

I’ve heard about a new ultraviolet machine called the UVLRx that’s being used for Lyme patients. It uses a fiber optic thread which is inserted directly into the vein and the treatment lasts for an hour, so all the blood is treated. Has anyone tried this?

Linda Covelli - December 19, 2017

Wondering if you know a dr. In the Tampa Florida area that treats Lymes disease?

Wilden Scanlon - January 18, 2018

Can Lyme disease cause psoriatic arthritis

Lisa - February 16, 2018

Can a person have gotten bitten by a tick and never known it? Although lyme tests have come back negative, my doctors are pushing me to get more detailed tests, which will be out of pocket, because they think I have a secondary infection. I don’t ever recall being bitten. I don’t want to waste my money either, because I never in my life recall being bitten or removing an engorged tick from my body.

    Sabrina Wilson - February 21, 2018

    Sure, ticks can be really tiny, about the size of a poppy seed. So it’s pretty common to get a bite and not know it.

Arthur Rimbaud - February 17, 2018

Sorry to “necro” this commentary–but this article still comes up fairly early in google search results for chronic lyme, which I’ve just learned about.
Listen folks—It’s called being alive. And yes—proper diet and exercise will make you feel better—while you’re alive.
It’s time to stop conflating and creating from whole cloth interpretations of data that don’t exist. Chronic lyme does not exist. YOU ARE ALIVE. We live in a universe where you are subject to entropy. This will eventually lead to your death, which is 100% inevitable. From both biologic and intellectual/emotional/spiritual perspectives, this will be a challenge to deal with. Philosophy and existential inquiry will help with the latter. Proper care to ameliorate the uncomfortable symptoms of biologic entropy deals with the former. There is no escape though—no one gets out alive. Make the best while you’re here, and stop treating life like it’s a disease. Again—it’s life—you’re alive—and you’re not dealing well with it, and you’re making it harder by thinking that all that makes you uncomfortable must be and is bad—hence defining it wrongly as a “disease”. Okay.

    alive person - June 21, 2019

    Arthur Rimbaud,
    Thank you for your insightful sincere comment: Intellectual pursuit, self care, and value the short time we’re here. Roger.

Gary Madison - June 19, 2019

My husband was diagnosed with MND ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) when he was 69 years old 6 years ago. The Rilutek (riluzole) did very little to help him. The medical team did even less. His decline was rapid and devastating. The psychological support from the medical center was non-existent and if it were not for totalcureherbsfoundation .c om and the sensitive cure of their herbal formula he would have been not been alive today,there was significant improvement in the first 4 weeks of usage that gave us hope that he will be alive,His doctor put him on riluzole, letting us know there was no cure until we gave try on total cure herbal supplement that cure him totally from this disease after 15 weeks of his usage. There is nothing positive about cure ALS condition except for their herbal treatment .

    Sarah Worthy - September 8, 2019

    Contact the “National Institutes of Health “ There are quite a few different divisions. Study for your specific category and volunteer to work for that cause. Michael Jay Fox is a perfect example of what you can do for a cause.

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