Could YOU Have Lyme Disease? 8 Facts You NEED to Know

Lyme Disease seems to be everywhere these days, but it's a very confusing issue. Let's talk about lyme disease facts and learn more about this puzzling condition.

Tick and Lyme Disease info

What Is Lyme Disease?

- Paralysis
- widespread joint and muscle pain
- severe fatigue
- headache, rashes
- unexplained fevers
- chills
- nausea
- anxiety
- swollen glands
- heart palpitations
- depression
- bowel problems
- interstitial cystitis
- TMJ, muscle spasms
- nerve pain
- numbness
- tingling
- stiffness
- abdominal pain
- light-headedness
- tremors
- confusion
- double vision
- sensitivity to light and sound
- anxiety
- menstrual irregularity.

What if I told you all of these symptoms could indicate Lyme Disease?

Ridiculous right? How could a tiny bug cause so many health problems? Besides, it seems like everyone and their dog has Lyme Disease lately. It's just the newest catch-all fad disease right? Or is it?

I know how you feel because I've thought the same.

That list above is just a tiny sampling of all the symptoms I've experienced in varying degrees over the last 16 years of my life. I'd spent years searching for answers to the problems that plagued me every day, finding no answers beyond "fibromyalgia". When a friend suggested to me I could have Lyme Disease and I should watch the Under Our Skin documentary I honestly was offended.

"Ya right!," I thought. "Seriously… how could a bug do all this to me?"

One afternoon, I sat down in front of my computer and caved in. I had to find an answer to the question, "What is Lyme Disease?" and as I found out, I was horrified.

As I watched, tears streamed down my face… I saw the playing out of my own life before my eyes. I finally understood my life and I saw Lyme Disease for what it truly is.

You see... Lyme Disease is much more sinister than most people give it credit for.

Why is Lyme so sinister?

And what is Lyme Disease anyway?

Let's explore together…

Dr. Richard Horowitz, a leading Lyme expert, says Lyme is "the number 1 worldwide epidemic… it's spreading, it's mimicking every disease and it's going to destroy the world's population."

Earlier this year the CDC released new statistics for Lyme, admitting they were way off on their earlier estimations of Lyme in the United States. The number? 300,000 Americans each year. This is 10 times more than what they had previously estimated! Most Lyme experts still think these numbers are inaccurate, citing that many people are not reporting to the CDC, while others have been misdiagnosed with things like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, MS, Alzheimer's, or rheumatoid arthritis.

How does Lyme cause ALL those symptoms?

Not every aspect of how Lyme Disease bacteria work is fully understood. I did a simplistic explanation of one function of the borrelia spirochete's initial action within the body here. There is a lot more going on in the body that leads to this hefty list of ailments.

1.  As I noted, one of the first jobs of the spirochete is to release neurotoxins. As the name implies, neurotoxins release toxins into the nervous system, inhibiting communication of neurons (the cell that processes and transmits through your body's electrical system) through synapses (the means to transport these electrical signals between cells).

When your neurons don't communicate, this leads to things like memory impairment, paralysis, seizures, neuropathy (nerve pain, burning, tingling, etc.), and myopathy (muscular disease).

2.  Additionally, spirochetes cause our body to produce too many cytokines. Cytokines are proteins who's job is to fight infection. (Sounds like a person would need lots of those to fight a Lyme Disease infection right?)

In a normal infection, the release of cytokines would pump up, do its job and then reduce again. However, as in my link above, the corkscrew bacteria of Lyme Disease make their way into every organ of the body (usually with their co-bacteria friends) causing the body to produce cytokines in excess.

Excess cytokine production leads to inflammation which leads to pain and muscle wasting, immune system suppression, disturbed sleep, severe fatigue, thyroid and adrenal problems, problems with body organs and more.

Tick and Lyme Disease Information

8 NOT-SO-FUN FACTS ABOUT TICKS AND LYME

  1. Lyme Disease is caused by Borrelia Burgdorferi, but there are other strains of Borrelia.I personally have 4 strains... Parkeri, Kochii, Persica, and Recurrentis. I do not have Burgdorferi and many others do not, however the symptoms and treatment are the same so most doctors will call it Lyme as well. Calling it Borreliosis is more accurate. (But for our purposes we will stick to Lyme.)
  2. Ticks do not fly, jump or blow in the wind.They come out in cool, wet weather and come out seeking carbon dioxide... i.e. your breath! They spend their time in tall grass and when you walk by, they catch a ride.
  3. Lyme Disease rarely travels alone.
    Ticks often carry co-infections as well... Mycoplasma, Babesia, Bartonella, and Ehrlichia are the most common. (Click here for a full listing.) These carry their own complicating symptoms that can be just as severe or worse than Lyme, and often require separate treatment regimens.
  4. Only 50% of people get a bullseye rash!
    The other 50% may have another form of a rash or no rash at all. And only 10% of children with Lyme Disease present with a bullseye rash.
  5. Ticks are not the only bugs that carry Lyme Disease!
    It once was thought that only ticks carry the disease, not only that, but only deer ticks. Sadly, this is untrue. While deer ticks are still the number one source of Lyme Disease, lice, fleas, mosquitos, and other blood-sucking bugs have been found to contain borrelia bacteria. Whether they can transmit it in the same way as ticks is yet to be discovered. Other types of ticks such as the American Dog tick have been proven to carry Lyme and co-infections as well.
  6. Lyme Disease can be transmitted from person to person.
    It is thought that it might be passed sexually, and also through saliva, organ transplant, blood transfusion (f.y.i - blood banks don't test for it!), breast milk, and through the placenta to the unborn child.
  7. If you catch Lyme Disease right away and treat it, your odds of recovery are very good, not 100%, but very good.
  8. Lyme is NOT easy to treat if you don't catch it right away.
    Many mainstream doctors claim Lyme Disease, in it's later stages, is simply treated with a few rounds of antibiotic and any remaining symptoms are "post Lyme" and will not go away. This is untrue as well.  Chronic Lyme disease treatment is possible, but it can be very difficult.

Alright… Are you panicking now?

Now that you have answered the question, "What is Lyme Disease" and you are armed with all of this information, it's terrifying, isn't it?

I know it all sounds super scary and overwhelming but it is not my intention to incite fear. However Lyme Disease is a growing epidemic and after all, I have suffered over the years, I see it as my duty to inform others about Lyme Disease.

Be aware, but don't live in fear.

My children still go into the woods to play.

Do I worry?

Yes, but living in fear of the unknown will paralyze me so I choose daily to trust that God will protect them and I take simple steps to be proactive.

Interested in simple steps you can take for Lyme disease prevention and actionable steps in case you are bitten?

I'll hope to be back soon with more tips for you so stay tuned.

For further reading, you might be interested in the following which goes into more detail in answering the question of "what is lyme disease" and what can be done to heal from it.  It hasn't been reviewed by either Corah or Adrienne but it has fabulous reviews on Amazon.

Lyme Disease Book

(Please note - nothing in this post or in the comments was meant to be a medical diagnosis or advice.  Please consult with your physician prior to changing your diet or supplements.  This information was meant for educational and entertainment purposes only.)

Have you been diagnosed with Lyme Disease---or wondered "What is Lyme Disease" or if you have this horrid disease?

Corah Webber

Corah Webber is a writer, artist, and mother of 2. She splits her time between homeschooling, doodling in notebooks, researching health problems, and daydreaming. Her passion for health and blogging arose out of her own 18 year struggle with a misdiagnosed health condition that turned out to be Lyme Disease. She dreams about starting an urban farm and going back to school to be a Naturopath Doctor once she is feeling better.

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113 Comments

  1. "It is thought that it might be passed sexually, and also through saliva." This is very powerful statement! Everything I read states that this is not the case. Please confirm where this information came from. I would like to read that also!

    1. Hi there. I am not a lyme expert, but I have heard about that possibility. There's some information in this article. Some people say that it has to be the case since they have never seen a tick on them but they have lyme, but I think there are other possibilities for transmission (like a very small tick or possibly a mosquito). https://lymediseaseassociation.org/lyme-tbd/medical/lyme-and-tick-borne-diseases/. Hope that helps.

      Do you have Lyme, by the way? You might be interested in knowing that I am doing really well despite having had it quite bad. Here's a teensy bit of my story: wholenewmom.com/about-me/

  2. I have tested as negative thru traditional labs and Indeterminate thru Igenex...I did Bioresonance/Bioenergetic testing which said I have the following:
    Borrelia recurrentis
    Borrelia kochii
    Borrelia parkeri
    Borrelia berbera
    Bartonella muris
    Bartonella berkhoffi
    Bartonella taylorii
    Bartonella bovis
    Bartonella grahamii
    Babesia bigemina
    Babesia ovate
    Ehrlichia chafeensis
    Ehrlichia phagocytophilum
    ** But I cannot find any info on Borrelia Kochii, which you stated you had/have as well! Where is this strain normally found?

    1. Hi there. So sorry I didn't write this post- it was written by another blogger.

      Can you tell me what you are trying to figure out?

      As for lyme, turns out, however, that I had / have it myself and am doing great overall. I think there are a lot of options to address foundational health and start feeling better--how are you doing?
      I would be happy to help if I can. I can just share the things we have done but I eventually stopped trying to work on any one issue. You can see my about page for a little bit about my situation, but I'll be writing more soon. wholenewmom.com/about-me/

    1. Testing isn't easy and often is not accurate. Find a lyme literate doc. Some docs / clinics do blood microscopy and sometimes you can see the lyme in the blood. Ask me how I know.

  3. I lived in South Africa from the ages of 7 to 9 and had 2 tick bites that I'm aware of. I'm 43 now and have suffered with daily headaches since I was 15. I have pain in my neck and shoulders, depression and anxiety, IBS and polycystic ovaries. I receive a B12 injection every 12 weeks, habe anaemia, low folic acid and vitamin D deficiency. I have also suffered with insomnia for as long as I can remember. My doctor is testing me for everything she can think of and I recently had a gastroscopy and a colonoscopy. I only recently thought about the ticks and wondered if this could be the cause. Can I have been infected 35 years ago and my symptoms be from lyme disease? I am back living in the UK.

    1. I have heard that Lyme can be latent and show up many years later but I'm not a medical expert. So sorry for your issues.

  4. When you say "lice"...do you mean head or body lice? I've read body lice but not the connection with head lice. Can you clarify and, if you mean head lice, do you know where you've found that? I've been searching for that possible connection for a long time.

    1. This is about head lice. I'm not sure what you are asking about where we've found "that" - what are you referring to, please?

  5. I'm shocked and have no clue what to do. I was diagnosed in 2006 with Fibromyalgia my symptoms back then were low grade fevers, just about every bone and muscle In my body hurt. Thru the years my symptoms just kept piling up with new ones showing up year after year. In 2013 at 50 yo I had a massive heart attack a widow maker. I survived, I was told I was one lucky girl. The beginning of 2016, suffering from my original symptoms plus malnutrion, headaches, severe fatigue, nerve pain, loss of memory, severe tinnitus, flu like systems, just dazing looking in to space for hours on end, could not tolerate light or sound, heart arthmeias, and so much more. I went to a hollostic doctor that tested me for Lyme, my Western Blot came back POSITIVE, the doctor wanted 15,000 dollars to start treatment. I have not been able to work or even function properly there is no way I can come up with that kind of money. I just don't know what to do. Im thousands of miles away from home with my parents because I just cannot tolerate the cold New England winters. Plus they take care of me 24/7. I was tested in January it's now March, there are no LLMDs in the area I'm in. Do I wait 2 more months for treatment when I go home? I'm petrified this disease will kill me. Last week one of my eyebrows just fell off for no reason, all there weird things are happening. I went almost 11 years treating what I thought was Fibromyalgia, now that I've been diagnosed with. Lyme everything makes sense, but I do not know where to go for treatment that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

    1. Lori, I'm not sure what to tell you but would this site be of help? I also am talking with someone about an herbal blend that might be of help. I can't medically advise, but I could put you in touch w/ the group where this kind of thing is talked about if you would like. You can email me at adrienne {at} wholenewmom {dot} com.

  6. Greetings all the way from South Africa. Believe it or not, this disease is gaining prevalence in the number of diagnosed cases all the way here. I have been a very "horsey" person since age 4. I've had so many cases of regular tick bite fever that I developed my own immunity to it. However, 6 years ago my bloods showed positive for Lyme disease. Added to the symptoms (as I didn't develop the rash, despite becoming very ill) my doctors have diagnosed me with Systemic Lupus Erythromotosis. My questionson are : (1) can Lyms remit & recur every so often? (2) What are the similarities/differences between SLE & Lymes? Can they overlap and/or can havinget Lymes have brought on the autoimmune condition? I'm so over taking meds that seem to work for a while & then I hit a relapse in what is believed to be SLE!!!! ANY HELP WILL BE INVALUABLE

    1. I am not a doctor but I have heard that lyme can come and go but that typically one gets very ill from it. I have read that autoimmune conditions overlap so I wd think that there can be a connection and I am seeing articles online connecting the 2. Hope that helps.

  7. I was searching to find out if I could possibly have had Lyme for almost 50 years. When I was around seven or so, I found a tick stuck to the back of my scalp. I was staying with my great aunt in the NC mountains at the time. She's tried to drown it with alcohol and other things and ended up pulling it off somehow. A few days later, it evidently, had gotten really infected or something to the point it frightened her. I remember driving around in the middle of the night hunting for a doctor. Back then you couldn't just go to the ER. My aunt did not drive and so we had to wait until my uncle got off work. Anyway, I ended up at the dr who used some tweezers to do something and prescribed antibiotics. Long story short, I have been searching in my mind for what age I lost my energy and other things. It was sometime after that. I never had the energy of other kids or teens. As a young adult I had no energy. Now in my fifties, I am on disability for CFS and fibromyalgia and other health issues. Just recently I was checked for autoimmune diseases because the Dr I saw noticed my nails and I showed her pics of my feet. They react like possible raynauds. My tests all came back basically negative. But two summers ago, I was bitten by something that left a bullseye ring around it. The dr did not see it at that time. But I developed a lump in the bend of my arm. So she's prescribed some expensive antibiotics. Ever since then I have felt even worse. I would really love to get a correct diagnosis so I can get the right treatment. The lump in my arm is still there. How doesn't one find a Lyme specialist or someone who can diagnose an autoimmune disease whatever's it may turn out to be. I truly believe I have something. It's been most of my life. It would be nice to have a definitive answer for once!

    1. I am so sorry you are having all of these struggles!

      I have friends who are successfully battling Lyme. I could possibly put you in touch w/ one or both of them if you like.

      1. Can you put me in touch with someone who has had some success at relieving Lyme disease. This is totally disabling and so painful for a few years now, but the doctors can't seem to help and are baffled why it is so bad.

        1. Hello Colette. I'm not sure if the people I know of work long distance. If you would like please email me at adrienne {at} wholenewmom {dot} com. Also there are some FB groups about lyme that might help / have some recommendations. Saying a prayer for you right now.

  8. I had three ticks attach in rapid succession. I removed them and ended up in the hospital from 7/1-7/6 of this year. Those ticks did a number on me! I am on Doxycycline now and since I had another tick attach yesterday I will have a blood test tomorrow and will be doing another round of Doxycycline. I had an MRI today and will repeat it next week sometime just to be sure they get all the views they need.
    What I would like to point out is that I live alone. I found and removed the ticks and thought nothing of it until my sister sister found me insensible and called an ambulance. Had she not checked on me the outcome would have been so much worse! I am entirely grateful she didn't just leave me to myself then and she won't in the future!
    By the way, I was diagnosed with "suspected" Anaplasmosis and I did, indeed, have the rash!

    1. I am so sorry! How terrible! How long were the ticks on your body? I hope you are able to get some good natural helps to get over this!

  9. All the links to Homespun Rabble Rouser - except for the Twitter - aren't working! any ideas what to do? Even the links from her Pinterest page which I got to through her Twitter page incidentally (the one included here doesn't go to her page) aren't working.

    1. Thanks for alerting me, Kacee. The author has stopped blogging, sadly. She has gotten more ill. I went and updated the post. Thanks again. I really enjoyed her writing....so disappointing.

  10. The following information was taken directly from the CDC page on Lyme disease transmission:
    •There is no evidence that Lyme disease is transmitted from person-to-person. For example, a person cannot get infected from touching, kissing, or having sex with a person who has Lyme disease.
    •Lyme disease acquired during pregnancy may lead to infection of the placenta and possible stillbirth; however, no negative effects on the fetus have been found when the mother receives appropriate antibiotic treatment. There are no reports of Lyme disease transmission from breast milk.
    •Although no cases of Lyme disease have been linked to blood transfusion, scientists have found that the Lyme disease bacteria can live in blood that is stored for donation. Individuals being treated for Lyme disease with an antibiotic should not donate blood. Individuals who have completed antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease may be considered as potential blood donors. Information on the current criteria for blood donation is available on the Red Cross website.
    •Although dogs and cats can get Lyme disease, there is no evidence that they spread the disease directly to their owners. However, pets can bring infected ticks into your home or yard. Consider protecting your pet, and possibly yourself, through the use of tick control products for animals.
    •You will not get Lyme disease from eating venison or squirrel meat, but in keeping with general food safety principles, always cook meat thoroughly. Note that hunting and dressing deer or squirrels may bring you into close contact with infected ticks.
    •There is no credible evidence that Lyme disease can be transmitted through air, food, water, or from the bites of mosquitoes, flies, fleas, or lice.
    •Ticks not known to transmit Lyme disease include Lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum), the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), the Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus

    1. Thanks. I will say that I have heard alternative docs say different things about Lyme. I guess we can only hope to know the truth someday. Thanks again.

    2. I would just like to mention that both my sister and i contracted lyme disease. She and her husband are part of a research study that indicates that lyme is sexually transmitted. She gave it to her husband. We both acquired it 25 some years ago and it manifested 20 years later while i was living in Maryland and she was living in another province. It took me 2years to get diagnosed and 5years of treatment with antibiotics including 1 of samento and banderol. There is no one size fits all treatment for Lyme my sister and i have both had different treatments. Much of the Information on the CDC website is innacurate or just plain wrong. If you think you have it dont give up you may not test positive but drs are supposed to treat by symptoms; find one! Naturopaths in Canada and LLMD's in the USA

      1. Hi Sue - thank you so much for commenting. I'm fascinated by your comment. I had heard about the sexual transmission of Lyme. How are they figuring that out? Do you have more information? My son was bitten by a tick about 3 years ago and I am still concerned for him. Thank you so much.

        Have you turned up anything about preventing Lyme if you have already possibly been infected?

        1. Someone posted your blog in my lyme Facebook group...my sister is also a member and i can perhaps get her to comment on the std study she is part of. We talk about alot of things i guess prevention is about the only way i have seen. ..i certainly dont want to go through more treatment. I initially saw dr singletons partner in his Towson md office thats who treated me but after 4years i decided to move back to British Columbia Canada and am seeing a wonderful naturopath who has gotten me better.

          1. How interesting. I would love to hear more - your sister could come and comment or could email me at wholenewmom {at} gmail {dot} com. Thanks and so glad you are feeling better!! It's scary.

            1. Hey, I'm Sue's sister. I participated in a Lyme sexual transmission study here in Calgary, Ab and I'm pretty sure she found the same strain of borellia in at least one couple, indicating one got it from the other. I'm not sure how far in her study she is but borellia is a spirochaete like syphilis which is sexually transmittable so it would make sense that borellia (Lyme) could be sexually transmitted. My husband has tested positive and had no known bite or rash so he likely got it from me.

              1. Hi Sally - thanks for taking the time to comment. Is there a possibility that the same strain could come from another source like a mosquito? Please excuse my ignorance about Lyme. I know very little about it. I have heard of numerous people getting it with no known bite or rash, however. Thank you!

  11. Hi there,

    No I was tested for everything. I don't have that. Thank you for the assistance! I am hoping a practitioner can help me so I can inform others and live life fully again.

    Thank you again and bless your soul for responding always!

    1. I hope so too. I am working w/ a practitioner who has helped a lot of people. I can introduce you if you like. She works long distance.

  12. All the information sounds scary. After I had my second child I had a blood transfusion. since then I had severe bursitis and tendonitis. I struggled for years with steriod shots, physiotherapy. Then i had a miscarriage and few months later concieved again to give birth to my third child. I had struggled taking care of her as the pain wouldnt go. I had depression, and a foggy mind. 1 year ago the pain increased and my fingers and all joints hurt and i couldnt sleep, After all the debate between unable to figure it out and meds, I went to a naturopath who said i had adrenal fatigue. He said he will keep searching and not stop. i had low CD 57(no idea why that is imp) and i had indefinate bands on the lyme test. (all this was done out of pocket) He suspects i got lyme. I have been on antibiotics every 4 months. I am better and sleeping with some pain still. He did a zyto test too. He suspects co infections. I hope everyone else is healthy at home. I am struggling and feel no reason to live. I cant work either. 🙁

    1. I am so sorry you are having such a rough time. I have 2 friends w/ Lyme who are trying to get better. I could possibly put you in touch w/ them. I like my practitioners too. I came out of a very dark place physically - I know how you feel.

  13. I am convinced I have Lyme disease. I was bitten by something when I was about 10. I am almost 50 now and have developed so many health issues over the years. In the past year, I have developed multiple inexplicable and undiagnosed health problems, which has led me to believe I have lyme. Now I have to find resources to determine if I am on the right track and then how to treat. I gained some valuable info from this article. Thank you.

    1. Hi Lisa. I am so sorry. Two of my friends are dealing with this right now. I am not sure if their practitioner works long distance, but I can check for you. They are both doing quite a bit better. Or perhaps you live close enough to travel. Let me know.

      1. Hello, would it be possible to send me the practitioners information that your friends have had success with? Thanks so much!

    1. HI was diagnosed by a test called the Western Blot through a lab called Igenix. Western blots are available through other labs, but they are said to be less accurate and Elisa testing is even more unreliable. I suggest checking out the IlADS website for more information on testing. Testing is not 100% accurate and even with the most accurate test (which I had) there is much room for misinterpretation and should only be interpreted by a doctor that is Lyme Literate. There are also other tests that are often suggestive of Lyme... such as a low CD57 and tests for other co-infections like myscoplasma, bartonella, ehrlicchia. Frequent infections or re-activations of such things as HHV-6 or Epstein Barr Virus should make one suspicious as well. Ultimately though, Lyme is a clinical diagnosis. I'm not a doctor however so please check out the ILADS site and check in with them if you have any further questions.

  14. Four docs, including a Lyme specialist have told me my son does not have Lyme. I am not convinced. My instinct tells me it is either Lyme or a related disease. He is now 23 and I have run out of avenues. I hope he is okay later in life.

    A teacher from our old district went to Germany for a treatment not available here. Last I heard, he was doing well. You can Google information on treatments in Germany.

    1. I am sorry to hear that. I am likely embarking on a new treatment this coming week. I don't think I have Lyme but I hope to see new improvements. Blessings.

  15. I was diagnosed with chronic lyme over a year and a half ago. This is a well written, informational article. Great job! Unfortunately, I have severe allergic or die off reactions to just about every supplement/med that's been given to me to kill those suckers off, so I haven't experienced much relief yet.

  16. Hi, I am so glad I found this through a different post. My niece was diagnosed with lyme this past fall along with another bacteria. She has had it for I believe two years. She has truly changed her eating and everything. When I heard her story I began to wonder about the last years of having muscle pain, joint pain, headaches ( I have always been prone to those) you see 11 years ago this summer I pulled a deer tick from behind my knee. That week at work I had a high fever and nausea and if I remember right there was a ring around that area. I went to the doctor with the tick that I saved and he said my test came back negative, but we will treat you with around of antibiotics. I took these and thought I was okay. Now I am beginning to wonder. I had no idea until Kat was diagnosed that this many symptoms could come from Lyme disease. Now after reading your post and the comments, wow! I had better re-think my own body and see who my niece uses to get tested. I had my last child during this time too. Scary stuff. We live in the wooded area in middle MN ticks are very hardy here.
    Jennifer

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Sorry to hear about your experience and that you're worried you have it. I hope you get some answers soon.