If a person does not receive treatment for Lyme disease, the infection may spread to the nervous system, where it may cause neurological symptoms, such as vertigo.
Infected ticks can transmit Lyme disease to humans through bites. Vertigo is a sense of movement and spinning, even while a person is still.
This article examines the connection between Lyme disease and vertigo.
According to researchers, vertigo, as a symptom of Lyme disease, links to damage in the inner ear.
The inner ear contains important parts of the vestibular system, a sensory system that provides the brain with information about motion, balance, and equilibrium.
The researchers conclude that these symptoms suggest that Lyme disease is present in the inner ear.
Lyme disease can cause damage and inflammation to both the inner ear and the vestibulocochlear nerve.
This nerve consists of both the vestibular and cochlear nerves, which are responsible for maintaining balance and eye movements, and hearing, respectively.
As a result of dysfunction in the inner ear and vestibulocochlear nerve, a person can experience vertigo.
Although vertigo is itself a symptom, it can cause other symptoms, or may commonly occur with other symptoms.
A person with vertigo may have the sense that the space around them, or their head, is
Other symptoms which may co-occur can include:
- difficulty balancing
- feeling lightheaded
- nausea and vomiting
- a feeling of fullness in the ear
- feeling motion sick, even while still
- involuntary eye movements, called nystagmus
The symptoms of Lyme disease can vary depending on how long a person has had the disease.
- joint and muscle aches
- swollen lymph nodes
- a rash, called erythema migrans (EM)
EM occurs in
The rash typically expands gradually and reaches up to 12 inches across. While not painful, the rash may feel warm to the touch.
EM may clear as it gets bigger, which can cause it to resemble a target or bull’s-eye. Some people may experience the other symptoms of Lyme disease instead of the rash.
If a person does not receive treatment, later symptoms of Lyme disease can include:
- a stiff neck
- severe headaches
- more EM rashes across other areas of the body
- heart palpitations and an irregular heartbeat
- facial palsy, in which the face droops on one or both sides
- nerve pain
- numbness, tingling, or shooting pain in the feet or hands
- shortness of breath
- pain in joints, bones, and tendons
- inflammation in the spinal cord and brain
- painful arthritis
Lyme disease may cause other balance issues. These include:
- Ataxia: This is a neurological symptom that
presents asa lack of coordination of movement and muscles and can affect a person’s ability to walk, talk, and perform other voluntary movements. Ataxia typically affects a person’s gait, and can also cause abnormal eye movements.
- Dizziness: Although similar to vertigo, dizziness is a slightly different sensation. While vertigo causes a sense of movement, such as spinning or tilting, dizziness can cause a person to feel disoriented and woozy.
Lyme disease is not often a cause of vertigo.
There are also some isolated instances of damage to the vestibulocochlear nerve in Lyme disease, which can cause vertigo.
A person with Lyme disease needs to seek an early diagnosis to prevent more severe and potentially permanent symptoms. Doctors will
If a tick has bitten a person, or a person suspects a tick has bitten them, they should contact a doctor. An individual should also contact a doctor if they experience symptoms of Lyme disease, as they may be unaware of a tick bite.
Anyone who experiences prolonged or repeated episodes of vertigo should contact a doctor.
A person should seek emergency medical attention if they experience vertigo in combination with other symptoms, such as weakness, chest pain, or fever, as these may indicate a severe issue.
If a person does not receive treatment, Lyme disease can lead to severe complications, such as heart palpitations, facial palsy, arthritis, and brain inflammation. Some of these symptoms may become chronic.
Vertigo caused by Lyme disease
This section answers some frequently asked questions about Lyme disease and vertigo.
Can Lyme disease cause dizzy spells?
Yes, Lyme disease can cause dizziness, vertigo, and other balance issues.
What are the top three severe symptoms of Lyme disease?
Severe symptoms of Lyme disease, which can occur if a person does not receive treatment,
- severe headaches and stiffness in the neck
- arthritis with severe swelling and joint pain
- facial palsy
Can Lyme disease cause ear issues?
Yes, Lyme disease
Can Lyme disease make you feel off balance?
Yes, Lyme disease can cause balance issues. These include vertigo, dizziness, and ataxia, which can all affect a person’s balance.
Although vertigo is
Lyme disease can inflame and damage the inner ear, as well as the vestibulocochlear nerve, which helps maintain a person’s sense of balance and movement. The disease can interfere with the functioning of these areas, which can cause vertigo and other balance issues.
A person should seek treatment as soon as possible for Lyme disease, as an early diagnosis and antibiotic treatment greatly improve a person’s outlook.