If you live in the Northeast or near the Great Lakes, you have an increased chance of being infected with lyme disease. For those who love everything the outdoors has to offer, it is important to be especially aware of the methods of prevention, detection and management of this disease.
What Is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium borrelia burgdorferi and transmitted to humans by blacklegged ticks.
Early symptoms of lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue, chills, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and the circular skin rash erythema migrans which develops 3-30 days after being bit by an infected tick (though this rash only occurs in 70-80% of infected people).
Early detection is important and based on symptoms and exposure to infected ticks. Untreated lyme disease can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system. However, early treatment with antibiotics can successfully treat most cases.
Later symptoms of lyme disease include loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of the face, severe headaches, neck stiffness, shooting pain that can interfere with sleep, heart palpitations and dizziness. And, even after the infection has cleared, some individuals have an autoimmune response that lingers and may include muscle and joint pain, arthritis, sleep disturbance and fatigue.
How Bodybuilding Can Help You Manage Lyme Disease
- Bodybuilders Are Physically Active: The symptoms of lyme disease can make you feel below par. But, exercise can help keep your joints mobile and boost your energy.
- Bodybuilders Believe In Alternative Therapies: Because this disease is caused by a bacterium, you need antibiotics to kick it. But, many of the symptoms including problems with concentration and memory, headaches, arthritis, joint pain and swelling can be treated with alternative therapies.
- Bodybuilders Can Endure Discomfort: Bodybuilders have conditioned themselves to push through fatigue and triumph over a challenge. And, these life skills will help you live through the typically temporary symptoms associated with lyme disease.
- Bodybuilding Helps You Manage Stress: Bad stress (distress) can make many things worse including the symptoms of lyme disease. As a bodybuilder, you know that stress can be managed by sticking with your exercise program, eating right, getting adequate rest and engaging in stress-busting activities when necessary.
Additional Tips To Help You Manage Lyme Disease
- Prevention is always the best option and, preventive measures include using insect repellent, checking your body (scalp etc.) for ticks, and managing pests in your yard.
- Be especially cognizant of this disease if you live in the Northeast, which has the largest number of lyme disease cases.
- Get treatment as soon as possible if you believe that you may have lyme disease. Antibiotic treatment may include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil. Patients with certain neurological or cardiac forms of illness may require intravenous treatment with drugs such as ceftriaxone or penicillin.
- Learn about long-term lyme disease from NIH: http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/topics/lymeDisease/understanding/chronic.htm
Though you shouldn't be afraid of going outside because of blacklegged ticks, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of lyme disease and get treatment as soon as possible if you believe you have been infected. It's a nuisance but manageable. And, the lifestyle that bodybuilding creates will help you cope with many things life throws your way, including lyme disease.
- Learn about Lyme Disease. CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/Lyme/