ALL ABOUT LYME DISEASE
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human cases of tickborne diseases have been steadily rising over recent years in the U.S. Lyme disease, one of the most common illnesses caused, has been diagnosed in all 50 states and is more common than previously thought, as the CDC recently increased their annual estimate of people diagnosed and treated with the disease by 45% to nearly half a million.
Transmitted by infected blacklegged ticks, Lyme disease is one of the more common tickborne diseases and is widely known for causing a circular red rash to appear at the bite site. However, the disease can cause more symptoms beyond the “bull’s eye” rash, such as joint pain, fever and chills. In serious cases or if the disease is left untreated, Lyme disease can result in arthritis, facial palsy, heart and nervous system issues, as well as brain and spinal cord inflammation.
Although Lyme disease is treatable, it can be easily confused with other conditions and disease cases are vastly underreported. In fact, the flu-like symptoms caused by the disease can be mistaken for those brought on by the common cold or even COVID-19. In recent years, celebrities suffering from the illness have begun to speak out about their own experiences, helping to shed light on the common tickborne disease.
Shania Twain was a universal music sensation during the 1990s and early 2000s, but a single tick bite took a toll on her singing career. Diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2004, Twain attributes issues with her vocal cords to the Lyme bacteria and said she felt dizzy during performances on tour following the bite. Nowadays, the singer-songwriter is warning others about the disease and emphasizing the importance of precautions such as tick checks.
One half of the well-known band Hall & Oates, Daryl Hall’s Lyme disease diagnosis forced the group to cancel a tour in 2005. Having lived in rural areas for many years where wildlife such as deer are always nearby, Hall had dealt with numerous tick bites and reportedly contracted several different tickborne illnesses, in addition to Lyme disease. He experienced a number of different symptoms including fever, aches and tremors, and now advises people to get tested for Lyme disease specifically since the illness can mimic many other ailments.
Avril Lavigne opened up about her issues with Lyme disease in 2015, explaining that she had been misdiagnosed with depression and chronic fatigue syndrome before eventually having the disease properly identified. The disease left her bedridden, achy and fatigued for long periods of time. Since then, Lavigne has founded the Avril Lavigne Foundation, aiming to raise awareness and support for people suffering from Lyme disease and other serious illnesses.
In early 2020, singer-songwriter Justin Bieber revealed he had recently received a Lyme disease diagnosis. The disease went undiagnosed for a period of time and reportedly led to depression for the young pop star. Bieber’s battle with the disease and announcement brought to light the difficulty of properly identifying Lyme disease, and issues that can surface when it goes undiagnosed.
Known for hit musical singles during the 80s and 90s, singer and actress Debbie Gibson began experiencing Lyme disease symptoms in 2013. She felt muscle fatigue and pain, as well as headaches, fever and chills. However, it took time before her Lyme disease was properly diagnosed, which still affects her stamina and energy.
The famous actor revealed that he has suffered from chronic Lyme disease after first being bitten in the early 2000s by an infected tick. Alec Baldwin has recalled serious flu-like symptoms as a result of the condition. Now, his family makes sure to constantly check themselves and their pets for ticks after spending time outdoors.
A cast member on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” in 2012, Yolanda Hadid has become one of the most vocal advocates for Lyme disease awareness since being officially diagnosed in 2015. She suffered from both physical as well as neurological symptoms, and is now working to shed light on this hidden and often times overlooked disease.