It’s not easy to diagnose Lyme disease—an infection spread by the black-legged deer tick. Because the symptoms of Lyme disease can mirror other illnesses, blood tests are commonly used to help make the diagnosis. If diagnosed early, Lyme disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics. But if not treated, this disease can be debilitating, making it difficult or nearly impossible to work. If your condition gets to this stage, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

Diagnosing Lyme Disease

If you live in a grassy or wooded area—an environment where ticks are common and there have been cases of Lyme disease—a Lyme Disease Diagnosis Notes and a Stethoscopedoctor may diagnosis your condition based on a bull’s eye skin rash frequently found on the skin of someone with Lyme disease. He might also make the diagnosis if you have flu-like symptoms and muscle and joint tenderness, especially near the knees.    

However, if you do not have the rash, Lyme disease is harder to diagnose because the symptoms can imitate other diseases. In order to be sure, these blood test are often given to diagnose this condition:

  • The enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay (ELISA). This test can sometimes result in a false positive.
  • The indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA). This test can also produce false positive results.
  • The Western blot. This test is usually given after a positive ELISA or IFA result.

These tests are used to determine if your immune system has produced the antibodies to fight Lyme disease. Other tests used to diagnose Lyme disease include a spinal tap and a single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).

If your Lyme disease symptoms meet the requirements of another medical condition and you are unable to work, contact us at 402-933-5405. We will discuss your situation and determine if you might be eligible for Social Security benefits.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska