Diagnosing Lyme disease can be difficult because it shares symptoms with other conditions. At Firshein Center on the Upper East Side of New York City, Dr. Richard Firshein specializes in diagnosing and treating complicated conditions, like Lyme disease. If you have a Lyme disease diagnosis or symptoms, call the Firshein Center, or schedule an appointment online today.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection typically caused by ticks, which are small arachnids that feed on the blood of birds, mammals, and sometimes reptiles or amphibians. Unlike insects, arachnids have two body segments, eight legs, and no wings. They also can’t chew.
Several factors can increase your risk of Lyme disease, including:
There are several types of tick-borne illnesses, but Lyme disease is the most common and comes from infected deer ticks or black-legged ticks.
The earliest signs of Lyme disease include a small, red bump at the bite site followed by a rash that develops 3-30 days after infection. A Lyme disease rash sometimes develops a bullseye pattern and can grow up to 12 inches in diameter. These rashes usually don’t itch, but may feel warm when touched.
In addition to a rash, you might also experience:
When left untreated, you can develop additional symptoms, including severe joint pain and swelling, abnormal heartbeat, neurological problems, and rashes on other parts of your body.
To diagnose Lyme disease, Dr. Firshein performs a comprehensive physical exam, reviews your symptoms, and orders blood tests that rule out other health problems or look for signs of tick infection. In some cases, Dr. Firshein might also recommend DNA testing to see if you have genetic markers indicating an autoimmune response to Lyme disease. In many cases, off-site blood drawing in the convenience of your home or office is available to ensure lab tests have been processed prior to your visit.
Based on your diagnosis, he typically recommends a combination of treatments, including oral or intravenous antibiotics to treat your infection. He might also suggest IV therapy to help boost your immune system and flush toxins from your body.
Lyme disease recovery is usually faster the sooner your treatment begins. Your doctor might also suggest long-term IV therapy to continue supporting your immune system after your infection clears up.
To learn more about Lyme disease, call the Firshein Center, or schedule an appointment online today.