Lyme Disease Symptoms
After several months, approximately 60 percent of people with an untreated infection will begin to have sporadic bouts of arthritis. This can include severe joint pain and swelling. Large joints are most often affected, especially the knees. Also, up to 5 percent of untreated people may develop chronic problems of the nervous system within months to years of being infected. These nerve problems can include shooting pains, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, and problems with concentration and short-term memory.
Most cases of Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics, especially if treatment is begun early. However, a small percentage of people have Lyme disease symptoms that last for months to years, even after treatment with antibiotics. These symptoms can include:
- Muscle and joint pains
- Arthritis (see Infectious Arthritis)
- Cognitive defects (problems with the ability to think)
- Sleep disturbance
The cause of these symptoms of Lyme disease is not known. There is some evidence that they result from an autoimmune response, in which a person's immune system continues to respond even after the infection has been cleared from the body.