The Many Faces of Lyme Disease: A Look at Its 300+ Symptoms

human body

Most people don’t realize Lyme disease can impact your whole body, physically and emotionally. Lyme disease impacts your brain, heart, joints, bones, nerves, muscles, eyes, and more – literally your entire body! Below, you’ll find a categorized list of just a few of the many symptoms of Lyme disease, organized by affected bodily system.

  • Musculoskeletal: joint pain or swelling or stiffness, muscle pain, shin splints, neck or back stiffness, migrating muscle pain or cramps, TMJ, neck creaks and cracks, tender soles.
  • Reproductive: testicular pain, pelvic pain, menstrual irregularity, unexplained milk production (lactation), sexual dysfunction, or loss of libido.
  • Cardiac/Pulmonary: Chest pain or rib soreness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, pulse skips, slow pulse, heart block, heart murmur, valve prolapse.
  • Neurological: muscle twitching, headache, tingling, numbness, burning or stabbing sensations, facial paralysis (that looks like Bell’s palsy), dizziness, poor balance, increased motion sickness, light-headedness, wooziness, difficulty walking, tremor, confusion, difficulty thinking/concentrating/reading, forgetfulness, poor short term memory, disorientation (getting lost, going to the wrong place), difficulty with speech, double or blurry vision, eye pain, blindness, increased floaters, increased sensitivity to light or sound or smell, buzzing or ringing in ears, ear pain, decreased hearing or deafness, difficulty swallowing, seizure activity, white matter lesions, low blood pressure.
  • Neuropsychiatric: mood swings, irritability, depression, disturbed sleep (too much, too little, early awakening), personality changes, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), violent outbursts, paranoia, panic/anxiety attacks, hallucinations.
  • Gastrointestinal: Nausea or vomiting, difficulty eating, change in bowel function, constipation, diarrhea, gastritis, abdominal cramping, irritable bladder or bladder dysfunction, cystitis.
  • Other: fever, sweats, or chills, weight change (loss or gain), fatigue, tiredness, hair loss, swollen glands, sore throat, swelling around the eyes, and swelling in feet.

Some commonly known conditions caused by Lyme disease are Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), heart block, dysautonomia (like Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, called POTS), Long QT (heart rhythm disorder), Epilepsy, Lupus, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), depression, anxiety, psychosis, and many more!

If you suspect Lyme disease, be sure to ask your doctor for a full tick-borne disease blood work panel. Also, ask for an Alpha-Gal Syndrome (AGS) panel which is a food allergy caused by a bite from the Lone Star tick. Remember, Lyme disease and tick-borne illness tests are not perfect. There are doctors who specialize in Lyme disease called Lyme Literate Medical Doctors (LLMDs). Visit our doctors page for a directory of Tick Boot Camp featured Lyme practitioners.

It’s important to note that Lyme disease is not limited to certain regions of the United States. While it is more common in the Northeast and Midwest, it has been reported in all 50 states and across the globe.

If you spend time outdoors or in areas with ticks, it’s important to take precautions such as wearing protective clothing, using tick repellent, and checking yourself for ticks after being outdoors (learn more about Lyme disease prevention).

Additionally, if you experience any symptoms of Lyme disease, it’s important to seek medical attention and discuss the possibility of tick-borne illnesses with your doctor (learn more about Lyme disease testing).

Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent long-term complications and improve your overall health and well-being (learn more about our Lyme disease treatment).