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Lyme disease is the name of a bacterial infection that is spread from a tick to a human. This disease can cause a range of symptoms, many debilitating, including nerve damage. Finding a Lyme disease specialist can be an important part of making a full recovery from this illness. As with any doctor, it's important to choose a specialist who is well-trained, who understands your concerns, and with whom you are comfortable.
You can get Lyme disease when a deer tick carrying the Borellia burgdorferi bacteria bites you. As the tick is drawing blood, some of the tick’s saliva gets regurgitated. The infection then travels through the blood stream.
Those infected with Lyme disease may begin to see symptoms in as little as one week, or not for several years. Lyme disease symptoms include a rash, often in the shape of a bulls-eye; joint pain; muscle stiffness; headaches; and fatigue. If you recognize any of thse symptoms, ask your primary care physician to send you to a Lyme Disease specialist. Depending on the primary care doctor, you may have to get a blood test first to confirm that you actually have the disease. Other doctors may agree to send you based on your symptoms.
Lyme disease specialists only deal with patients who are infected with the Borellia burgdorferi bacteria. You may want to consider seeing an infectious disease doctor, because they also often know a great deal about Lyme disease. These doctors are far more knowledgeable than your primary care physician, because it is their job to study the disease and stay on top of the latest treatments.
A good way to find the best Lyme disease specialist is to ask your primary care doctor for a recommendation. Most doctors are familiar with specialists in their area, and should be able to direct you to a doctor or hospital for further treatment. You may also be able to find information about specialists through your insurance provider; many insurance companies offer a list of specialists who are covered by their services.
You may also be able to find Lyme disease specialists in your area by talking to friends or family who have suffered from the disease, or by contacting a local support group. The symptoms of Lyme disease do not always disappear when treatment is completed, so a support group can be a good continuing resource. You can also contact hospitals in your area to find out what kind of specialists may be available to you.
A Lyme disease specialist will be able to correctly diagnose you and get you started on a regiment of antibiotics. These antibiotics may be oral, or they may be given through an IV line. It can take two to four weeks of treatment to successfully get rid of the infection. After that, you may need to work with the Lyme disease specialist to treat any remaining symptoms.