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Ally Hilfiger, daughter of fashion designer, Tommy Hilfiger, recently published an autobiography chronicling her life as a patient of chronic Lyme disease. The majority of her childhood was spent in debilitating health, until she reached the point of a mental breakdown. It wasn't until she was 18 that she received a proper diagnosis. Once she finally discovered that she had Lyme disease, she spent the next 11 years trying to treat the disease that had already ravaged her childhood.
Chronic Lyme disease can be transmitted through the bite of an infected deer tick, but researchers have discovered that Lyme disease may not be only contracted through a tick bite. Its symptoms could be as common as fatigue. This doesn't mean that everyone who is comes home exhausted at the end of the day and can't wake up in the morning has Lyme disease. The worry comes when the fatigue is consistent for a long period of time and when not even adequate rest can help alleviate it. However, similar signs are also indicators of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Then how do you know then if your extreme fatigue is a symptom of CFS or Lyme disease?
Start by looking for other signs of Lyme disease, as well. For instance, often, soon after being bitten by a deer tick carrying Lyme, a rash resembling a bulls-eye will appear. This is not true, however, in all cases. To properly diagnose Lyme disease there needs to be a greater awareness of the possible symptoms.
Here are 6 other sometimes misdiagnosed symptoms you need to know:
1. Flu-like symptoms
The flu is one of the most common illnesses, so much so that we even make preparations for when "flu season" rolls around. But be cautious if flu-like symptoms are frequent and recurring. Chills, swollen lymph nodes, nausea, fever, and (again) fatigue associated with influenza could also be symptoms of chronic Lyme disease, especially if you find yourself unwell after multiple treatments and antibiotics.
Intermittent pain in the joints and muscles is often associated with signs of arthritis, but it can also be a symptom of Lyme. Physicians at the FAR Clinic, a center specializing in natural Lyme disease treatment, have noted that, "There are two types of joint pain associated with Lyme disease. One is superficial orthopedic pain usually located in the larger joints like hips, knees, and shoulders. The other is more difficult to assess and treat where the microbes and associated immune reactions are located in the connective tissue of the joints."
3. Neurological problems
This is also a difficult symptom to pin down because the range of possible neurological problems is so wide. Some more common symptoms of Lyme disease to be aware of are brain fog, recall/memory loss, and occasional vertigo and seizures. Brain fog (a lack of mental clarity, or a confused mental state) is especially common among chronic Lyme disease patients. For more specifics on other possible neurological symptoms, click here.
4. GI or gut problems
Stomach pains and GI troubles are often difficult to diagnose with such a wide range of possible problems. Symptoms that fall under Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) such as bloating and constipation, may in fact be a result of chronic Lyme disease, especially if these symptoms come on top of some of these other symptoms of Lyme.
Almost as common a symptom as fatigue are frequent and/or severe headaches and migraines. They are often accompanied with neck stiffness. Headaches, like fatigue, are extremely common even for people without Lyme disease. But an indicator could be whether or not treatments and medicine help alleviate the pain or the problem remains consistent.
6. Chest pain
The bacteria for Lyme disease can enter the heart causing a condition called Lyme carditis. When this occurs, symptoms may include feeling lightheaded or experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain, or heart palpitations. Patients might also be more inclined to fainting.
If you are worried that you might have Lyme disease, or if you have been diagnosed with Lyme, but are still not feeling any better with current treatments or antibiotics, take this quiz below. Or get in contact with the FAR Clinic for treatment of Lyme and other chronic diseases to get you feeling better soon.
Emily interned as a BrandView content writer with FamilyShare.com. She has also worked as a writing tutor and a volunteer creative writing editor. But if you want the more honest answer as to who Emily really is, she would describe herself as an avid bacon lover and film buff, with Grace Kelly class and an irrational fear of stairs.