For people living in Pennsylvania, certain times of the year bring about an increased risk of contracting Lyme disease. While this condition can usually be treated effectively if caught early, it is commonly misdiagnosed by doctors due to its similarity to many different ailments. Failure to properly treat Lyme disease can lead to a host of serious complications, which can greatly impact the life of the sufferer.
According to WebMD.com, it can be extremely difficult to test for Lyme disease. In some cases a person may actually be infected with the illness but testing will come back negative. It’s also possible for a person who was infected by Lyme disease bacteria in the past to test positive for the illness even though they have no symptoms or complications.
There are also other health conditions that closely mimic the symptoms of Lyme disease, and to this end doctors may issue a diagnosis of Lyme disease when that is not actually the case. This is particularly true when it comes to conditions like multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and arthritis. Sufferers of chronic Lyme disease are most at risk of misdiagnosis, as their symptoms closely mirror those of many other chronic illnesses.
While diagnosis can be challenging, knowing the symptoms commonly associated with Lyme disease is the first step to getting proper treatment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that symptoms can vary depending on whether it’s early or late in the infection. Early on in the infection sufferers will most likely experience symptoms similar to flu, such as aches in the joints and muscles, fever with chills and swelling of the lymph nodes. Later symptoms often present a few days or even months after the initial bite, and entail drooping muscle tone in the face (also known as facial palsy), shortness of breath, numbness in the hands or feet and neck stiffness.