Skip to content

Arthritis Health Center

Font Size

Symptoms of Lyme Disease - Topic Overview

The first symptom of Lyme disease in most people is an expanding red skin rash (called erythema migrans or an EM rash). In about a third of people, the rash looks like a bull's-eye, with a pale center area surrounded by a bright red rim. The rash is often accompanied by flu-like symptoms, including:

About 20% of people have viruslike symptoms only (no rash) or have no symptoms at all.

Recommended Related to Arthritis

Arthritis at Work: Ergonomics Can Help

The day-to-day demands of work can pose many challenges when you have arthritis. That’s true whether you work at a desk job or a job that requires lifting and bending. Fortunately, a few simple principles can help most people get through the day without undue pain. Ergonomically designed chairs, desks, and specific equipment can also help take the strain off painful joints. Here are eight tips from arthritis experts.

Read the Arthritis at Work: Ergonomics Can Help article > >

If Lyme disease is not detected and treated while early symptoms are present, or if a person never has early symptoms that trigger the need for treatment, the infection may spread to the heart, the joints, the brain and spinal cord (nervous system), or sites on the skin.

Heart and nervous system problems may develop weeks to months after the initial infection, including:

  • Pain, weakness, or numbness in the arms or legs.
  • A gradual inability to control the muscles of one side of the face (paralysis of the facial nerves).
  • Irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath.
  • Severe headache and stiffness in the neck.

Damage to the joints, nerves, and brain may develop months to years after a person becomes infected, causing:

  • Swelling, pain, or redness in the joints.
  • Poor memory and reduced ability to concentrate.
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, or back.
  • Severe fatigue.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: /2, 14 1
    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.
    1
    Next Article:

    Symptoms of Lyme Disease Topics

    Today on WebMD

    Mature woman exercise at home
    Hint: Warming up first is crucial.
    feet with gout
    Quiz yourself.
     
    woman in pain
    One idea? Eat fish to curb inflammation.
    senior couple walking
    Can you keep your RA from progressing?
     
    xray of knees with osteoarthritis
    Slideshow
    close up of man wearing dress shoes
    Slideshow
     
    feet with gout
    Quiz
    close up of red shoe in shoebox
    Slideshow
     
    salad
    Video
    two male hands
    ARTICLE
     
    Woman massaging her neck
    Quiz
    5 Lupus Risk Factors
    Article