Bella Hadid has been battling Lyme disease for more than a decade. The supermodel provided an update on her health earlier this week.

"The little me that suffered would be so proud of grown me for not giving up on myself," Hadid told her Instagram followers Sunday.

She was diagnosed with the tick-born illness in 2012.

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. When left untreated, it can lead to complications as the infection spreads to joints, heart and the nervous system.

Know the symptoms

Early symptoms of the disease usually appear within three to 30 days after a tick bite. The most common symptoms during this stage are a reddish rash on the skin, fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches and swollen lymph nodes.

As the infection progresses to the second stage, patients may develop rashes on several areas of the skin and suffer from numbness, paralysis of facial muscles and heart blocks.

If the disease is still left untreated, it leads to late Lyme disease marked by symptoms such as recurring swollen joints, brain fog and damage to multiple nerves in the body.

Diagnosis and treatment

Most often patients may not remember the tick bite. So, the condition is diagnosed based on symptoms. The diagnosis is confirmed through blood tests that detect antibodies formed in the body in response to the infection. Early diagnosis is crucial, as proper treatment can improve outcomes.

The disease is treated using antibiotics such as doxycycline or amoxicillin. The duration of the treatment depends on the stage of the infection.

Despite proper treatment, approximately 5% to 15% of the patients may exhibit persistent symptoms such as fatigue, achiness or headache. The condition is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome or PTLDS. When a person suffers from the infection for a long period or has PTLDS, it is a chronic Lyme disease.


Avoiding tick bites is the best way to prevent Lyme disease. Using insect repellants, tick-proof clothing and keeping pets safe from ticks can help prevent the disease. It is essential to consult a healthcare provider if you feel unwell after being in an area that has ticks.