Lifechangers: Understanding Lyme Disease

Actress Parker Posey has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease, forcing her to pull out of an off-Broadway play. Now, "Extra" Lifechanger Dr. Armand Dorian is explaining the facts of this treatable, tick-borne illness.

Parker Posey and Lifechanger Dr. Armand Dorian

"Lyme disease is an illness that is transmitted to humans by the bite of deer ticks (Ixodes)," Dr. Dorian explains. "These ticks carry and infect humans with a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi."

Signs and symptoms include flu-like symptoms -- fever, achy muscles (myalgias), arthritis and occasionally facial paralysis initially. Other symptoms are Erhrythema Migrans, a red circular rash that grows in size daily. "It is located at the site of the tick bite and you can have similar rashes develop all over your body. The classic appearance is that of a target sign with multiple rings," Dr. Dorian says.

As for treatment, "Removal of the tick and treatment with antibiotics" is the first step. "If treated, you do not suffer complications. If left untreated, the symptoms will go away in 1-2 weeks, but the rash may reoccur," he explains.

There then is a secondary phase -- or latent phase -- where many organs can be affected and one may suffer many complications, including arthritis (the most common, usually in the knees or wrist) and other more serious complications like paralysis, meningitis, encephalitis, dementia, or Carditis (inflammation of the heart).

Hand with rash from Lyme Disease