What are Stage 2 Lyme Disease Symptoms?

Stage 2: This occurs within a couple weeks of a tick bite. The untreated infection and lyme disease rash begins spreading to other parts of the body, producing a variety of new symptoms that may come and go:

    • Erythema migrans: a bull’s eye rash that occurs in areas other than the bite site
    • Bell’s palsy: paralysis or weakness of facial muscles on one or both sides
    • Meningitis: neck/back pain, fever, extreme fatigue, and/or headaches (caused by inflammation)
    • Severe muscle pain and/or numbness in the arms or legs
    • Pain or swelling in the knees, shoulders, elbows, and other large joints
    • Heart complications (including palpitations and dizziness)

Lyme Disease Complications

When the disease progresses from the early disseminated stage to the late disseminated stage (stage 3 lyme disease) without treatment, it can lead to long-term complications.

These may include:

    • Lyme- related arthritis
    • Heart rhythm irregularities/changes
    • Brain and nervous system damage
    • Pain or numbness
    • Sleep disorders
    • Vision deterioration

Arthritis and Lyme Disease

Lyme disease was first recognized in 1975, after researchers investigated unusually large numbers of children being diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in Lyme, Connecticut, and two neighboring towns.

The investigators discovered that most of the affected children lived near wooded areas that are likely to harbor ticks. They also found that the children’s first symptoms typically started in the summer months, coinciding with the height of the tick season. Several of the patients reported having a peculiar skin rash just before developing arthritis symptoms, and many recalled being bitten by a tick at the rash site. The recent growth of the deer population in the American Northeast and the increased building of suburban developments in previously rural areas, where deer ticks are commonly found, has probably contributed to the increasing number of people contracting the disease.

Here are some more details:
  • Erythma migrans is the telltale rash which occurs in about 70% to 80% of cases and starts as a small red spot that expands over a period of days or weeks, forming a circular, triangular, or oval-shaped rash.  The rash, which can range in size from that of a dime to the entire width of a person’s back, it appears between three days up to a few weeks after a tick bite, and usually occurrs at the location of the bite. As the infection spreads, several rashes may appear on different parts of the body.

  • Arthritis symptoms may appear after several weeks of being infected with Lyme disease, approximately 60% of those people not treated with antibiotics develop recurrent attacks of painful, swollen joints that last a few days up to a few months. The arthritis can shift from one joint to another; the knee is most commonly affected and usually a few joints are affected at any given time. About 10% to 20% of untreated patients will go on to develop lasting arthritis.

  • Neurological symptoms can cause symptoms such as; stiff neck, severe headache (associated with menagitis), temporary paralysis from facial muscles (Bell’s palsy), numbness, pain or weakness in any or all limbs, and/or poor coordination. More subtle changes such as; memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and a change in mood or sleeping habits have also been associated with Lyme disease. People with these latter symptoms alone usually don’t have Lyme disease as their cause. Nervous system abnormalities usually develop several weeks, months, or even years following an untreated infection. These symptoms often last for weeks or months and may recur. These features of Lyme disease usually start to resolve even before antibiotics are started. Patients with neurologic disease usually have a total return to normal function.

  • Heart problems. Fewer than one out of ten Lyme disease patients develop heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat, which can be signaled by tiredness, dizziness and/or shortness breath. These symptoms rarely last more than a few days. Such heart abnormalities generally appear several weeks after the intial infection, and usually begin to resolve even before antibiotic treatment.

  • Other symptoms. Less commonly, Lyme disease can result in eye inflammation and severe fatigue, although neither of these problems is likely to appear without other Lyme disease symptoms being present.

References: http://www.webmd.com