Lyme Borreliosis Complex, commonly referred to as Lyme Disease, is an inflammatory disease often characterized at first by a rash, headache, fever, and chills, and later by possible arthritis and neurological and cardiac disorders. It is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a type of spirochete bacteria that is transmitted by ticks. A spirochete \ ˈspī-rə-ˌkēt \ is a type of slender spirally undulating bacteria. Borrelia burgdorferi exists in North America and Europe. Until 2016, it was the only known cause of Lyme Borreliosis Complex in North America. Recently, Borrelia mayonii, discovered in the midwestern United States, has also been discovered to cause Lyme Borreliosis Complex.
Dr. Jemsek coined the term Lyme Borreliosis Complex to describe what is commonly called Lyme Borreliosis Complex. If left untreated, Lyme Borreliosis Complex can progress to advanced stages, known as Chronic Lyme.
Symptoms of Chronic Lyme may include:
Musculoskeletal: joint pain or swelling or stiffness, muscle pain, shin splints, neck or back stiffness, migrating muscle pain or cramps, TMJ, neck creaks & cracks, tender soles.
Reproductive: testicular pain/pelvic pain, menstrual irregularity, unexplained milk production (lactation), sexual dysfunction or loss of libido.
Cardiac/Pulmonary: chest pain or rib soreness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, pulse skips, slow pulse, heart block, heart murmur, valve prolapse.
Neurological: muscle twitching, headache, tingling, numbness, burning or stabbing sensations, facial paralysis (that looks like Bell’s palsy), dizziness, poor balance, increased motion sickness, light-headedness, wooziness, difficulty walking, tremor, confusion, difficulty thinking/concentrating/ reading, forgetfulness, poor short term memory, disorientation (getting lost, going to wrong place), difficulty with speech, double or blurry vision, eye pain, blindness, increased floaters, increased sensitivity to light or sound or smell, buzzing or ringing in ears, ear pain, decreased hearing or deafness, difficulty swallowing, seizure activity, white matter lesions, low blood pressure.
Neuropsychiatric: mood swings, irritability, depression, disturbed sleep (too much, too little, early awakening), personality changes, obsessive - compulsive disorder (OCD), violent outbursts, paranoia, panic/anxiety attacks, hallucinations.
Gastrointestinal: nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, GERD, change in bowel function (constipation, diarrhea), gastritis, abdominal cramping, cystitis, irritable bladder or bladder dysfunction, newly diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Other: fever, sweats, or chills, weight change (loss or gain), fatigue, tiredness, hair loss, swollen glands, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, swelling around the eyes, & swelling in feet.
Source: Lyme Disease Association, 2017
Dr. Jemsek was recently featured in the award-winning documentary about Lyme called Under Our Skin. If you are interested in learning more about Lyme, consider watching the film, which is now available online. Below is the trailer.