Late-stage Lyme disease, also known as disseminated Lyme disease, can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be nonspecific and may mimic those of other diseases. However, there are several methods that can be used to diagnose late Lyme disease:
- Medical history and physical exam: The doctor will ask about your medical history and conduct a physical exam to look for signs of Lyme disease, such as a rash or joint swelling.
- Blood tests: Blood tests can be used to detect antibodies to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. However, these tests are not always accurate, especially in the later stages of the disease.
- Imaging tests: Imaging tests such as MRI and CT scans can be used to look for signs of inflammation or damage in the joints, brain, or nervous system.
- Spinal tap: In some cases, a spinal tap (also called a lumbar puncture) may be performed to check for signs of inflammation in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
It’s important to note that the diagnosis of late-stage Lyme disease can be challenging, and it’s not uncommon for people to be misdiagnosed or not diagnosed until the disease has progressed. If you suspect you have late Lyme disease, it’s important to seek medical attention from a healthcare provider who has experience in diagnosing and treating the disease.