Justin Bieber confirmed reports on Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with Lyme disease. The “Yummy” singer also revealed he has been diagnosed with a “serious case” of chronic infectious mononucleosis (mono), which has affected his skin and “overall health.”
“While a lot of people kept saying justin Bieber looks like s***, on meth etc. they failed to realize I’ve been recently diagnosed with Lyme disease, not only that but had a serious case of chronic mono which affected my, skin, brain function, energy, and overall health,” Bieber, 25, wrote on Instagram. “These things will be explained further in a docu series I’m putting on YouTube shortly.. you can learn all that I’ve been battling and OVERCOMING!! It’s been a rough couple years but getting the right treatment that will help treat this so far incurable disease and I will be back and better than ever NO CAP.”
TMZ reported earlier Wednesday that Bieber addresses his Lyme journey in his upcoming documentary, including the “scary symptoms he endured in 2019.” Apparently much of the year Bieber’s condition went undiagnosed and he battled extreme depression. The singer opened up about mental health struggles various times last year on social media.
Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Yahoo Entertainment spoke with RN and Functional Nutrition Coach, Christina Tidwell, about the relatively unknown disease.
“Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks,” Tidwell, the owner of Live Well With Christina, explains. “It’s typically said that you’ll notice a ‘bulls eye rash.’ However, few people with Lyme disease actually recall a prior tick bite and, in up to 30 percent of cases, this bulls eye rash doesn’t appear. It’s important to note that Lyme disease affects people differently and the symptoms that come up will look different from person to person as well. Once someone is infected the immune system may respond immediately causing more acute symptoms like headaches, fatigue, rash, chills and muscle pain.”
Tidwell, who has been diagnosed with Lyme, notes that the disease is a hot topic in the medical community.
“Although still a controversial and widely debated topic in the medical community, Lyme disease can become chronic, causing significant physical and mental impairment. Chronic Lyme disease is estimated to afflict 1.5 million people in the United States — far more than the 300,000-person figure cited by the CDC,” she continues. “The prevalence of chronic Lyme disease is only expected to rise further in coming years, with nearly two million people expected to be affected by 2020.”
Tidwell — who is also a board certified holistic nurse coach — adds, “Symptoms of chronic Lyme disease overlap with acute symptoms, including fatigue and joint or muscle pain. However, chronic Lyme disease can also cause more serious dysfunctions in diverse body systems like headaches or cognitive dysfunction, inflammation or neuropathy.”
Diagnosis of Lyme “can be very tricky due to the often vague symptoms,” the registered nurse explains.
“Testing is also imperfect as well. As a first step, what’s currently recommended is a serologic test like the ELISA, western blot and immunoblot,” she continues. “It’s really important to find a doctor who is ‘Lyme literate’ and can help you navigate this complex diagnosis.
“As a functional nutrition coach and person diagnosed with chronic Lyme, it’s important to note that supporting your body with the foundations of proper nutrition, hydration, sleep and reduced stress are key in the management of any chronic condition,” Tidwell concludes.
Bieber is not the first celebrity to come forward with his Lyme diagnosis. In 2015, Avril Lavigne said she was bedridden for five months. The tick-born disease was part of Yolanda Hadid’s storyline on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but she left the Bravo show after a difficult season when some co-stars doubted her diagnosis. Yolanda’s kids, models Bella and Anwar Hadid, plus Ben Stiller, Shania Twain, Kelly Osbourne and Alec Baldwin have also opened up about struggling with Lyme.
SIGNS OF LYME DISEASE THAT APPEAR ON YOUR SKIN
Signs of Lyme disease
If you find a sign of Lyme disease on your skin, see your primary doctor right away. When caught early and treated, Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics and most people recover fully.
Lyme disease is caused by a bite from a black-legged tick. This bite can deliver the microbe that causes the disease. If you are bitten by this tick and develop Lyme disease, you may see a bull’s-eye rash. It’s a common sign of Lyme disease, but it’s not the only sign.
Lyme disease occurs in stages. Here’s what you may see on your skin during each stage.
Stage 1: Quickly expanding rash
After being bitten by a black-legged tick, a quickly growing rash can appear. This is the earliest stage of Lyme disease, known as stage 1.
Most people who develop a rash, get it within days or weeks of being bitten by a tick.
Where you see the rash: If you develop a rash, it appears near (or where) the tick bit you. For most people, that means the back, groin, armpit, or a lower leg. However, a tick can bite you anywhere.
What the rash can look like: You may see a spot or bump on the skin, which is the bite mark. Around or near the bite mark, a rash develops. Some people see the bull’s-eye rash (shown below). You can also have one of the other rashes shown here.
Early rash caused by Lyme disease
Notice the bite mark in the center of this early rash, which will expand quickly.
Bull’s-eye rash on woman’s upper arm
This is another early sign of Lyme disease.
Lyme disease rash with lighter color on the outside
This rash has expanded, but you can still see the bite mark in the center.
Rash from Lyme disease has begun to clear
As the rash begins to clear, the redness fades.
If you develop a rash during this stage, you may notice that it:
- Feels smooth and warm to the touch
- Causes a burning sensation
- Itches or feels painful
- Has an outer edge that feels scaly or crusty
When the rash and symptoms begin: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rash begins 3 to 30 days after the tick bites you.
About 50% of people who have Lyme disease develop flu-like symptoms , which include:
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Swollen lymph nodes near the bite
Symptoms tend to begin before the rash appears.
Stage 2: Small, oval rashes or a reddish lump
When a tick that causes Lyme disease bites you, it infects you with bacteria. Without treatment, the bacteria can spread to other areas of your body. If it spreads, you have stage 2 Lyme disease.
During this stage, you may see small, oval rashes on your skin. Some people develop a bluish-red lump.
Where you see these signs: Because the infection has spread, small rashes can appear anywhere on your skin, except for your palms and soles. Most rashes appear on the arms, legs, and face.
Some people develop a lump, which your doctor may refer to as borrelial lymphocytoma. In children, this lump tends to appear on an earlobe. Adults often see a raised growth form around a nipple.
Borrelial lymphocytoma on a child’s ear
This can appear in stage 2 of Lyme disease.
What you may see on your skin: The rashes that appear during stage 2 differ from the rash that can appear in stage 1. In stage 2, the rashes stay the same size rather than grow larger.
When the rashes, lump, and symptoms begin: About 30 to 45 days after the tick bites you, you may notice rashes or a lump. These can also take longer to appear, sometimes six months or more.
Some people develop symptoms, which make them feel ill, including:
- Arthritis that comes and goes
- Muscles aches, especially neck stiffness
- Numbness or pain
- Shortness of breath and dizzy spells
- Bell’s palsy, which causes one half of the face to droop
- Heart problems, such as chest pains or an irregular heartbeat
How long do the rashes, lump, and symptoms last: If treated with antibiotics, signs and symptoms tend to clear within three weeks. Without treatment, the symptoms tend to come and go indefinitely, and some people develop stage 3 Lyme disease.
Stage 3: Changing skin
In stage 3, few signs of Lyme disease appear on the skin. Most problems occur in the heart and nervous system, and these can be serious.
Where you see signs on your skin: If you were in Europe when bit by a tick, you may see changes to your skin in this late stage. These changes usually appear on a hand or foot. Some people develop this change on both of their hands or feet. It can also occur on a knee, elbow, or elsewhere.
What the skin looks like: The skin begins to swell, and you may notice some redness. These signs are caused by having a bacterial infection for a long time. The affected skin may also feel sore.
In time, the skin starts to harden and shrink, causing deep lines to form. If you have hair in the area, it tends to fall out. The sweat glands can die, and the skin often becomes so thin that it tears easily. The medical name for this condition is acrodermatitis chronical atrophicans.
In stage 3, you may also see tumors on your skin. It is believed that the long-term infection and swelling in the lymph nodes can lead to a cancer known as cutaneous B-cell lymphoma.
Skin starts to harden and shrink, causing deep lines to form
The medical name for this condition is acrodermatitis chronical atrophicans. Swelling, hardened skin, and deep lines on the foot of someone who has had Lyme disease for years.
When you see signs of changing skin and symptoms:These tend to occur months or years after you are bitten by a tick.
In stage 3, a person tends to have many symptoms of illness, which may include:
- Problems remembering and concentrating
- Nerve pain
- Heart failure
How long the changes last: Even with treatment for Lyme disease, the changes to the skin, tumors, and symptoms tends to be permanent.
Seek medical care early to prevent Lyme disease from progressing
It’s easy to get bit by a tick and not know it. Most people don’t feel a tick on their skin or the bite. Checking your skin for ticks after spending time outdoors can help you find a tick and remove it.
Removing a tick can prevent Lyme disease. A tick must be attached to your skin for at least 36 hours to infect you with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
It’s not always possible to find a tick, so it’s important to pay close attention to your skin. If you notice any signs of Lyme disease or develop a rash, get medical care right away. Ticks can cause other serious diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever.