SPIN CITY star Michael J. Fox's health and career are being threatened by
a potentially deadly disease, experts warn.
The gutsy actor recently admitted he's battling dangerous Lyme disease,
which can lead to heart damage, meningitis, and arthritis -- and could be
fatal if left untreated, doctors say.
But instead of slowing down and curtailing his extracirricular activities,
Fox jumped right back into grueling 18 hour workdays on his hit ABC
"People who suffer from Lyme disease, which is caused by a deer tick bite,
should take it easy and give their bodies time to rest and recover,"
explains Dr. Heeten Desai, a Tucson Ariz. emergency room physician who
specializes in toxicology.
"Lyme disease can be debilitating. You wouldn't want to overexert
yourself. I'd recommend that someone suffering from this disease take it
The 35 year old actor kept up his hectic daily grind, but he did postpone
an appearance on David Letterman's Late Show. When he finally did appear
on the CBS talkfest, he revealed to Letterman: "I got a dose of the Lyme.
You feel like crap."
"l got bit by a tick," he confessed. "They're really tiny."
"Then what happens is you get this little red mark. You think it's a rash
or you think it's some bad thing, but it's a tick bite."
"Then you are doomed because it's already too late."
Fox, who married to Tracy Pollan and has three kids, 7 year old Sam and 2
year old twins Aquinnah and Schuyler, was put on antibiotics for three
weeks -- the standard treatment for Lyme disease -- but docs warn there
could be lingering problems.
"Until patients have been medically cleared, they should be careful not to
overexert themselves or overexercise."
Tom Skinner form the Centers For Disease control and Prevention in
Atlanta, explains that Lyme disease effects each person differently.
"Some people experience brief bouts of what appears to be arthritis," he
"As the disease progresses into later stages, it can lead to nervous
system abnormalities, including numbness in different areas of the body,
Bell's Palsy (facial paralysis) and in some cases, meningitis."
"In some instances, people can experience irregular heart rythyms, which
could be fatal if not treated."
There were 10,000 cases of Lyme reported in the U.S. last year, mostly in
the Northeastern and North Central regions.
The early symptoms include fatigue, chills and fever, headache, muscle and
joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and a red skin rash, says Skinner.
"Some symptoms of Lyme disease may not appear until weeks, months or years
after a tick bite," he adds.
"Some people can expect recurring bouts of the disease, especially if the
treatment was unsuccessful, so Michael J. Fox is not out of the woods
Fox, here with wife Tracy Pollan and son Sam,
won't take it easy.
Fox admits to Letterman:
"I got a dose of the lyme"
Michael J. Fox makes headlines for LD