Untreated Lyme disease may result in symptoms including radiculitis, cranial neuropathy, intracranial hypertension, encephalmoyelitis, and encephalopathy.
Humans get Lyme Disease from the bite of an infected tick. Fever, muscle pain, and swollen lymph nodes are just a few of the symptoms that an individual can expect to have once contracting Lyme diseas. People with Lyme disease often ignore the symptoms or use the wrong treatments since they are similar to those of more common diseases like flu. Unfortunately, when left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to severe complications. Neurological complications may occur in the second stage of Lyme disease and these can be accompanied by numbness, visual disturbances and severe headaches. Some possible neurological complications of Lyme disease include:
Painful radiculitis is one of the first symptoms experienced by those who contract Lyme disease. Radiculitis is often characterized by a pain that radiates along the dermatome of a nerve. Characteristic of the early stages of infection, this condition may start to appear as early as the first weeks. Patients tend to note sensory, motor, or mixed symptoms, as well as conditions like sensory changes, increased reflexes, and weakness. These symptoms are very similar to and are often mistaken for nerve-impingement symptoms.
Cranial neuropathies, or head symtoms
As well as the patient’s cranial nerve, cranial neuropathies can affect the nerves involved in sensory processing, in other words sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. As Lyme disease progresses the multiple cranial nerves of can all be affected at the same time in someone infected with the disease. An estimated 50%-70% of total patients that suffer from neurological symptoms experience this complication.
High blood pressure in the head
A rare neurological complication of Lyme disease is intracranial hypertension. It is more commonly experienced by children and adolescents. Intracranial hypertension manifests in headaches and sometimes papilledema. The swelling of a patient’s optic disc may develop within the span of a few hours to weeks and this condition is called Papilledema. In some cases, abnormalities in Cerebrospinal Fluid may also occur.
Sometimes resembling ischemic patterns, encephalomyelitis usually includes brainstem abnormalities. There is some evidence from medical sources that implies parenchymal involvement Cerebellar syndromes, hemiparesis, motion disorders and spastic paraparesis is usually presented in this complication. North America has this complication less common than in European nations.
Are you at all familiar with Encephalopathy?
One of the more common complications in the late stages of Lyme disease is encephalopathy. This complication causes changes ranging from minor to severe in the patient’s cognitive functions and polyradiculoneuropathy. Encephalopathy as well as other late stage infections may be accompanied by severe fatigue, sleeping problems, extreme irritability, mood swings, photophobia, difficulty finding words, and problems in writing or speaking. There have been reports of sensory issues as well. The severity of these symptoms may vary and are somewhat inconsistent, i.e., they could be experienced on some days and absent on others.
Early identification of the symptoms of Lyme disease and administration of immediate treatment are the best ways to prevent it from developing into worse neurological complications.