During late persistent Lyme disease, the latest stage of Lyme disease, the infection can cause damage to the nervous system, joints and brain, according to WebMD. The symptoms can worsen and include weakness, numbness in the extremities, heart problems, difficulty concentrating or memorizing, swelling, and arthritis, especially in the knees.
Symptoms of late persistent Lyme disease may be a patient's first sign of having an infection, especially if the patient did not experience an initial rash in the bite area, asserts WebMD. The infection progresses to the late persistent stage if it is not treated effectively. The previous stage, called early disseminated infection, occurs up to a few months after the onset of the infection. Some symptoms of this stage are similar to those of the late persistent stage but can include pinkeye, heart palpitations and fainting.
Approximately 20 percent of Lyme disease cases show infliction of the nervous system, claims the American College of Rheumatology. Ticks that are infected with the bacteria spread Lyme disease by going underneath the skin to feed. Blood tests allow doctors to diagnose Lyme disease so that they can start treating the infection immediately. Although oral and intravenous antibiotics are effective in treating the disease, patients can still feel symptoms after undergoing successful treatment.