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Persistent Lyme disease can have disabling effects

Medical professionals recently gathered in Pennsylvania to discuss an illness that can produce strong opinions among doctors: Lyme disease. If left untreated or if the disease persists even after initial treatment, the tick-borne illness can have very serious effects. In fact, those who are dealing with chronic Lyme disease symptoms may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

According to federal health officials, there were 4,379 diagnosed Lyme disease cases in Pennsylvania in 2011. This was the highest number of cases in any of the 50 states, which may be a big part of the reason why doctors came to our state to discuss the nature of the disease and treatment options at the conference.

Certain individuals treated for Lyme disease. On the other hand, Lyme disease can develop into a very severe medical condition. Some symptoms can include weakened immune response, fatigue, memory issues, headaches and chronic joint pain. These severe symptoms may leave people unable to work, which may lead to a successful SSD claim.

Medical professionals have also noted that certain strains of Lyme disease are unresponsive to traditional antibiotic treatments and can mutate. When persistent Lyme disease develops, individuals may be left with several years of recovery -- even if long-term antibiotic treatments are effective. The unpredictability of this medical condition is another reason why doctors gathered in Pennsylvania to generate ideas about better diagnosis and treatment.

Because Lyme disease can be a complex condition, those who contract the illness may have to consider all available options in order to maintain a sense of stability. Beyond pursuing sound medical opinions and treatment, financial support may be necessary. Being rendered unable to work by a serious, persistent disease is one of the reasons why the SSD program was made available.

Source: The Patriot-News, "Lyme disease: long-suffering patients hope Hershey event will cure medical 'illiteracy'," David Wenner, April 18, 2013

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