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Arthritis Health Center

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Lyme Disease - Exams and Tests

Lyme disease is often hard to diagnose. Your doctor will take a careful medical history and do a physical examination to help diagnose early Lyme disease. You may be asked if you have recently visited an area where you may have been exposed to ticks. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and look for physical signs of Lyme disease. The clearest physical sign is an expanding, circular red rash (called erythema migrans camera.gif).

Lyme disease tests are blood tests that help confirm a diagnosis of Lyme disease. These tests can detect antibodies to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, but they may not be needed. The decision about when to use blood tests for Lyme disease depends on whether your doctor strongly thinks you have Lyme disease and whether the test results will change the course of your treatment.

Other tests, such as a skin biopsy, may be done to confirm a diagnosis.

If possible, put the tick that was attached to you in a dry jar or a ziplock bag and take it to the doctor with you. Sometimes tests can be done on the tick to see if it is a carrier of Lyme disease.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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