Lyme disease is an infectious disease precipitated by exposure to a type of bacteria referred to as Borrelia burgdorferi. Borrelia burgdorferi is transmitted to an individual through an infected deer tick or black-legged tick bite. If the tick is removed from the body within forty-eight hours of it being attached, Lyme disease is not likely to develop. Symptoms of Lyme disease include neck stiffness, headache, fever, chills, fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, rashes, irregular heartbeat, palpitations, numbness, and tingling in the extremities.
A Lyme disease diagnosis is made with the use of a physical examination, medical history, and blood testing. Treatment for Lyme disease may include the use of oral or intravenous antibiotics, including amoxicillin, cefuroxime, and doxycycline. Treatment also focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing complications that may linger after the elimination of the bacteria.
The Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria are known to hide from and avoid an individual's immune system by moving into the nervous system and joints. When the bacteria move into the nervous system, they can destroy the nerve cells responsible for communicating sensations and coordinating movement between the brain and extremities. Most individuals who experience peripheral neuropathy as a complication of Lyme disease experience symptoms related to altered or lost sensation in the hands and feet, but paralysis and loss of muscle strength in the extremities can also occur.
Symptoms that most individuals who have Lyme disease report having that are related to nerve function in the extremities include tingling sensations, numbness, and loss of control of the limb. Some patients may develop ulcers on their feet as a result of the altered or loss of sensation in the extremities that develops because of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria attacking their nervous system.