Experts warn not diagnosing Lyme disease early can cause patients to suffer long-term from the illness. LymeDisease.org recently released th2019 Highlights Report for the MyLymeData Patient Registry, which states early diagnosis is key to preventing patients from developing chronic Lyme disease.
There are more than 12,000 patients with the medical condition that are enrolled in the registry.A large number of these patients are living with either persistent or chronic Lyme disease. A person bitten by a tick that is carrying a bacteria called Borrelia causes the disease, which is also known as Lyme borreliosis. It is usually treated within the first month. However, if it is left untreated the infection can spread all over the body.
Early signs of Lym disease:
- Feeling chilly
- Muscle and joint pains
-Swollen lymph nodes
- Erythema migrans (EM) rash
Even though early antibiotic treatment has been found to be ineffective in some cases, failure to recognise the condition early is why some patients are suffering from the illness long-term, according to Lorraine Johnson, CEO of LymeDisease.org and Principal Investigator of MyLymeData. "70 per cent of patients with late or chronic Lyme disease is not diagnosed until six months or more after symptom onset. Yet, no one has researched the best way to treat this population. Protocols developed for acute disease do not appear to be effective. We need better treatments for late-stage, untreated Lyme disease," Johnson told a news portal.
Data from the new report reveals only 12 per cent of the people in the registry were diagnosed within the first month. Joint pain, migraine, fatigue and cognitive impairment are some of the symptoms patients exhibit in the early stages of the disease. Those that are treated with the right antibiotics in the early stages have been found to make a quick recovery.
"It's critical to identify why Lyme disease patients are not being diagnosed early, to shorten the time to diagnosis and to develop better treatments for patients diagnosed late," Johnson told a news portal. Adding, "We're hoping MyLymeData will help us to reach that goal."
Here are a few preventative measures you can take to protect yourself from the disease:
- Keep your body covered up: If you are in a grassy area, make sure to wear clothes that cover up your body. Opt for shoes, socks, gloves, a hat and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors. Also, make good use of insect repellents to keep ticks at bay
-Tick-proof your home: Ticks thrive in clear brush and leaves. Make sure the area around your home is clean. You should also be vigilant and thoroughly check your clothes if you feel you have a tick issue.
- Shower: Ticks can stay on your skin for many hours before they attach themselves. Therefore, it is best to take a shower as soon as you get home.