Many Kentucky residents could have Lyme disease and not even know it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30,000 Americans contract the disease every year. Even so, many of them will not even know it. The symptoms of Lyme disease mimic that of other diseases, making it difficult for doctors to make a diagnosis.
One thing physicians use to determine a diagnosis is a history of tick bites. As such, if a tick is not present during an exam or a patient cannot recall being bitten, a doctor might not consider Lyme disease. They might also misdiagnose a patient because they share certain symptoms such as fever, headaches, fatigue, and skin rashes with other conditions.
Lyme disease will only get worse the longer it progresses. When patients do not receive treatment right away, they may suffer severe joint pain or even permanent damage to the central nervous system or heart. One child who was undiagnosed for over a year experienced severe stomach pain and a sore throat that made it difficult for him to eat. A nurse even went undiagnosed for more than 15 years, despite being a medical professional herself.
There are times when doctors truly have difficulty diagnosing Lyme disease because symptoms remain hidden. Often, they do not appear for several years, which is long after they have resulted in serious health problems. In other cases, physicians should have performed testing to rule out Lyme disease in its earliest stages because symptoms were indeed present. People who have been harmed by this disease because it was left untreated might want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to see what recourse they might have.