Lyme disease is known as the great imitator, because symptoms range so widely. People with Lyme disease may feel like they have the flu – or feel like they are having a heart attack. Many patients suffer from severe muscle or joint pain, and think they are experiencing arthritis or a related condition.
This past winter’s mild weather and limited number of days with below freezing temperatures already has health experts concerned about a dramatically increased tick population this spring and summer. And more ticks equals more cases of Lyme disease.
One of the key struggles for Lyme disease patients is that they continue to have symptoms, long after their antibiotic treatment is over. Some patients experience symptoms for more than six months. This is known as Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, or PTLDS.
According to the CDC, most medical experts believe that PTLDS symptoms are the result of damage that Lyme disease causes to tissues, muscles and the immune system that occurs while the person is ill with an active case of the disease. This post-illness scenario is also seen with other infections. One means of treatment is the long term use of antibiotics, which carries its own risks and dangers.
Over time, the majority of Lyme disease patients can expect to recover. The challenge is coping with the long recovery period.
For some patients, Lyme disease does major damage that is not recoverable. For these claimants, it is not possible to return to their former lives, and that includes the ability to maintain their work lives.
Our experience has been that disability insurance companies treat Lyme disease claims in many instances in the same way that they treat debilitating rheumatoid arthritis and other auto-immune diseases. That is, they challenge claims, believing that while the person may be ill, they are not so ill as to be unable to work.
We defend claimants with Lyme disease more often today than in the past, when the disease was not always diagnosed correctly and when there were far fewer cases of Lyme disease.
Key elements in preparing to support a Lyme disease claim include thorough blood work and radiology studies that demonstrate swelling in joints. Since many people suffer cognitive impairment as a result of the Lyme disease, we often counsel clients to secure neurocognitive testing to provide objective evidence to support their functional impairments.
If you have the classic bulls’ eye rash around the site of a tick bite, take photos, even daily, to document the rash.
Be aware that Lyme disease symptoms include rashes on other areas of the body, facial or Ball’s palsy, heart palpitation or irregular heart beat and shooting pains numbness or tingling in the hands or the feet.
If you are unable to work and you have treatment for Lyme disease, call our office to learn about Lyme disease and disability claims. Call us at today at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524).