How Is It Treated
An initial episode of Lyme arthritis should be treated with a 4-week course of oral antibiotics. Patients with persistent joint inflammation and pain after the first course of antibiotics may require a second course . In some cases, joint swelling and pain can persist or recur after two courses of antibiotics. The cause of persistent arthritis is unknown but is thought to be driven by immunologic factors. Additional antibiotics have not been shown to improve these symptoms, and patient referral to a rheumatologist should be considered.
Ways To Identify Lyme Disease In Time And Take The Proper Treatment:
1) If you live in a wooded area or plan to go camping or spend anytime outdoors where ticks are often present, come prepared with tick sprays and wear clothing that covers your body to reduce the chances of being bit.
2) Often times a tick bite can go unnoticed like it did in my case, so make sure that during and post trip, that you look at your body to see if there have been any tick bites. If you notice them, seek a doctor immediately to test yourself and start treatment if necessary. The earlier you spot this, the better.
3) Sometimes, you may find that a tick may actually be on you when you spot the bite, in which case you should also get rid of it and see if a bite mark is left. Whether or not it is, still seek a doctor and repeat the same things.
Synovial Fluid Pcr For B Burgdorferi
Although reported in a few patients,30 it is exceedingly difficult to culture B. burgdorferi from synovial fluid in patients with Lyme arthritis. This is presumably due to the fact that joint fluid, with its many inflammatory mediators, is an extremely hostile environment. In spiked cultures, adding small amounts of joint fluid results in rapid killing of spirochetes.13 In contrast, polymerase chain reaction testing of synovial fluid for B. burgdorferi DNA often yields positive results before antibiotic therapy ,13,31 and usually becomes negative following antibiotic treatment.12 However, spirochetal DNA may persist after spirochetal killing, which limits its use as a test for active infection. Moreover, PCR testing has not been standardized for routine clinical use. Therefore, in most cases, the appropriate clinical picture and a positive serologic result are sufficient for diagnosis of Lyme arthritis, and PCR testing serves as an optional test to further support the diagnosis.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
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Lyme disease is an underreported, under-researched, and often debilitating disease transmitted by spirochete bacteria. The spiral-shaped bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, are transmitted by blacklegged deer ticks. Lymes wide range of symptoms mimic those of many other ailments, making it difficult to diagnose .
The blacklegged ticks can also transmit other disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These are known as coinfections . These ticks that transmit Lyme are increasing their geographical spread. As of 2016, they were found in about half the counties in 43 of 50 states in the United States .
Lyme is the fifth most reported of notifiable diseases in the United States, with an estimated 329,000 new cases found annually . Some studies estimate that there are as many as 1 million cases of Lyme in the United States every year .
Most people with Lyme who are treated right away with three weeks of antibiotics have a good prognosis.
But if youre not treated for weeks, months, or even years after infection, Lyme becomes more difficult to treat. Within days of the bite, the bacteria can move to your central nervous system, muscles and joints, eyes, and heart .
Here is a list of 13 common signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.
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Can Lyme Disease Completely Be Cured
Taking oral antibiotics typically cures Lyme disease after two to four weeks. You may need to get antibiotics through the vein for four more weeks. However, theres no reason to think that Lyme disease stays in you forever after treatment.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If youre going to spend time in an area that might have ticks, take measures to avoid being bitten. This includes wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants to make it harder for ticks to bite. If you feel sick after being in an area that probably has ticks, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. If your provider prescribes antibiotics, make sure you take all of them as instructed.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/16/2022.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy
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Facts About Lyme Disease In Pa
Ticks thrive in the countryside of Pennsylvania in particular, and according to a study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , Lyme has a greater likelihood of occurring where suburban developments encroach on existing forest. This is thought to be because the white-footed mouse that is the most important animal in the Lyme disease transmission cycle can live without too many predators under these circumstances.
Notable statistics of Lyme disease in PA include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
For some people, a telltale sign of the disease is the red bulls eye-shaped skin rash that presents in some, but not all sufferers, within three to 30 days after being bitten by a tick.
Often, these first signs are missed when youre infected with Lyme disease and are dismissed as the flu or some other virus. This is very worrying because if antibiotic treatment isnt begun when the first signs of the disease present, your condition can become more serious.
Joint pain is another issue that can occur with Lyme disease. In the worst cases, over several weeks, nervous system and heart issues can develop. If left untreated, you may suffer from arthritis and neurological issues. In fact, according to the Arthritis Foundation, when Lyme disease is untreated, more than half of all sufferers will develop sporadic arthritis bouts.
A Revisit With The Pediatrician And The Diagnosis Established
After the doctors at the hospital could not help me with my problem, a day or two passed, during which the pain in my knee remained the same, but half my body began to feel as though it was being cut in half. In addition to the knee pain and swelling I had, I also developed a very high fever, severe joint pains, surprisingly on one half of my body .
This horrible pain led me to losing consciousness and not knowing just what would happen next and it went on for 4 days.
I then revisited my pediatrician, told him the update and he told me to get tested for lyme disease. Sure enough: Positive.
But now that we knew what was going on, we finally had a treatment option: Antibiotics which I immediately started taking but the surprising thing was, this was after the 4 days of torture I endured and right after that, everything was gone.
My knee lost its swell, my pains went away as did my fever and I felt great and renewed. And it was after that feeling vanished that I started taking the antibiotics.
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Youre Hypersensitive To Your Environment
Lyme can put your immune system into overdrive, causing intolerance to unpleasant smells, moldy rooms, and chemicals, says Reihman. This can cause exaggerated side effects or allergic reactions to medications. Some people with Lyme also have unusual food allergies like Alpha-gal syndrome, an allergic reaction to red meat. A lot of people with Lyme struggle with an immune response that is both robust and ineffective, as if it is targeting the wrong things, says Reihman.
What Is The Outlook For Someone With Lyme Disease
Most of the people who get Lyme disease and receive treatment early will be fine. Treatment can cure Lyme disease but you might still have some long-term effects. Untreated Lyme disease may contribute to other serious problems but its rarely fatal.
Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome
Even after proper treatment, some people may experience lingering fatigue, achiness or headaches. This is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome or PTLDS. The symptoms dont mean that you still have an infection. PTLDS probably wont respond to additional antibiotics. The majority of people in this group will have symptoms that resolve at some point over the next six months.
Chronic Lyme disease
Chronic Lyme disease is a term used by some for a condition in a person who had Lyme disease and the symptoms of PTLDS. Some people consider chronic Lyme disease to be the same as PTLDS. However, some people receive a chronic Lyme disease diagnosis without a Lyme disease diagnosis. Sometimes, extended treatment with antibiotics helps.
This term may be why some people think a Lyme disease infection can occur without being bitten by a tick. There isn’t enough proof that mosquitoes can transmit Lyme disease. Many researchers dislike using the term chronic Lyme disease.
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Treatment Of Lyme Disease
Early diagnosis and proper antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease is important and can help prevent late Lyme disease. The following treatment regimens reflect CDCs interpretation of the most current data for four important manifestations of Lyme disease. These regimens are consistent with guidanceexternal icon published by the by the Infectious Disease Society of America, American Academy of Neurology, and American College of Rheumatology.
Some patients report persistent symptoms of pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking even after treatment for Lyme disease. The state of the science relating to persistent symptoms associated with Lyme disease is limited, emerging, and unsettled.
Additional researchexternal icon is needed to better understand how to treat, manage, and support people with persistent symptoms associated with Lyme disease. In light of these research gaps, recommendations for treatment of persistent symptoms in people previously treated for Lyme disease are not provided here.
If you are interested in information on chronic Lyme diseaseexternal icon, see NIHs website.
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Lyme Disease Is The Most Common Tick
Approximately 35,000 cases of Lyme disease, an infection transmitted by ticks, are reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each year. The illness is primarily spread by the bite of blacklegged ticks infected with Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria.
However, estimates based on insurance claims show that more than ten times that number about 476,000 people are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease each year, even if they dont report it directly to the CDC.
Lyme disease can also be tricky to diagnose, as many of the symptoms can occur with other infections. Doctors may consider your lifestyle, as well as the region where you live to determine if youre likely to have been exposed to blacklegged ticks. Also known as deer ticks, the insects are local to the northeast and have spread southward and to parts of the Midwest.
Here are five physical signs to look out for if you are at risk of contracting Lyme disease.
- By John Ross, MD, FIDSA, Contributing Editor
In 1975, researchers from Yale investigated an epidemic of 51 patients with arthritis who lived near the woodsy town of Lyme, Connecticut. The most common symptom was recurrent attacks of knee swelling. A few had pain in other joints, such as the wrist or ankle. Many had fever, fatigue, and headache. Some remembered a round skin rash before the onset of knee swelling.
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Why Are Antibiotics The First Line Of Treatment For Lyme Disease
The use of antibiotics is critical for treating Lyme disease. Without antibiotic treatment, the Lyme disease causing bacteria can evade the host immune system, disseminate through the blood stream, and persist in the body. Antibiotics go into the bacteria preferentially and either stop the multiplication of the bacteria or disrupt the cell wall of the bacteria and kill the bacteria . By stopping the growth or killing the bacteria the human host immune response is given a leg up to eradicate the residual infection. Without antibiotics, the infection in Lyme disease can evade the host immune system and more readily persist.
What Is Lyme Arthritis
Lyme arthritis occurs when Lyme disease bacteria enter joint tissue and cause inflammation. If left untreated, permanent damage to the joint can occur. Lyme arthritis accounts for approximately one out of every four Lyme disease cases reported to CDC. Because of reporting practices, this statistic may overstate the frequency of arthritis among patients seen in routine clinical practice.
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Diet & Targeted Exercise Can Help Lyme
If you have Lyme disease, discuss a protocol for killing the bacteria with your doctor. Of course, this is imperative for eliminating symptoms.
That said, most Lyme protocols take time, and there is much more you can do during treatment to mitigate symptoms of pain.
For instance, Dr. Farshchians clinic advises people with Lyme arthritis to decrease any environmental factors that may contribute to inflammation, such as mold exposure or mast cell activation . Addressing common comorbidities often makes a significant improvement in symptoms, she says. In addition, her clinic aims to help patients reduce inflammation organically through diet, lifestyle, anti-inflammatory herbal supplements, medications, light therapy, Epsom-salt baths, and exercise.
In my experience and that of my clients, all these approaches can be helpful. Below are a few of my favorite strategies.
1. Rolling with a foam roller
One thing you can easily do at home is to roll tight tissue in your body with a foam roller. This helps to lengthen and release tension in your fascia, or connective tissue.
Rollers are inexpensive and available online. Just play with gently rolling the muscles surrounding painful joints, or really any sore muscles at all, with the roller. If you need ideas for how to experiment with this, this video demonstrates my favorite ways to roll.
2. Gentle strengthening
3. A low sugar diet
When to Consider Testing for Lyme
Other Integrative And Restorative Therapies
Modalities to help improve strength, mobility, and flexibility can help to relieve pain temporarily. Over time, improved function may help reduce the underlying cause of the pain. I am a big fan of hands-on treatment by a trained professional.
The following is a partial list of therapies you might consider.:
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Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
Most people with Lyme disease get the infection during the late spring, summer and early fall when immature ticks are out feeding. In warm climates, few tick bites take place during winter months.
Deer ticks are most often found in wooded areas and nearby grasslands. Theyre especially common where the two areas merge, including neighborhood yards where deer occasionally roam. Ticks dont survive long on sunny lawns. They dry out quickly and die.
Although only about 1% of all deer ticks carry Lyme disease-causing bacteria, there are areas in which over 50% of the ticks carry the bacterium. The diseased ticks are often found in the U.S. Northeast and upper Midwest areas. Ticks also live in coastal areas.
Black-legged ticks can get the infection from animals other than deer. Mice, voles and some squirrels can carry the bacteria.
How can I prevent tick bites?
The following tips can help you avoid tick bites:
Lyme Disease And Joint Pain: Its Complicated
For starters, Lyme is complicated and every patient responds to the disease differently.
Approximately 30,000 new cases of Lyme are diagnosed each year, according to the CDC, and just over one-third of them develop arthritis as a symptom. The most common symptoms beyond the bullseye rash are chills, fatigue, headache/neck stiffness, fever. Painful and swollen jointsespecially in large joints such as the kneeare often considered a late-stage symptom of Lyme, but can appear even days after the tick bite.¹³ Some individuals may find out they have Lyme as a result of chronic joint painwithout ever knowing they had a tick bite.
Ticks rarely carry just one strain of bacteria. They usually deliver several different species of bacteria and parasites in one bite these are called co-infections. Co-infections are one reason Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment can be so complex and difficult.
To investigate why joint pain is a common symptom of Lyme disease, I spoke to Thalia Farshchian, ND, a naturopathic doctor practicing at Medical Options for Wellness, a clinic in Foster City, California. She specializes in treating patients affected by chronic and complex diseases, including Lyme disease.
It is estimated that about 70% of individuals presenting with bullseye rash do not recall a tick bite,” she said. “It is important to note that the absence of a rash does not rule out Lyme Disease as diagnosis, but may be supportive of the diagnosis.”
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How Is Lyme Disease Treated
Generally speaking, the earlier and more quickly Lyme disease is treated, the quicker and more complete your recovery will be.
Antibiotics are used to treat Lyme disease, and they include:
- Oral antibiotics. Oral antibiotics are the standard treatment for Lyme disease when its in its early stages. Cefuroxime or amoxicillin is prescribed for younger children, breastfeeding or pregnant women and some adults. Doxycycline is given to children and adults over the age of eight years.
The usual length of a course of antibiotics for Lyme disease is between 14 and 21 days.
- Intravenous antibiotics. If you are suffering from complications affecting your central nervous system, you may be prescribed treatment via intravenous antibiotics for between 14 and 28 days. This course of action gets rid of any infection, although it may still take you a long time to recover entirely from your symptoms.
Intravenous antibiotic treatment often causes a range of side effects, including:
- Mild to severe diarrhea
- Lower white blood cell count
- Infection or colonization with other antibiotic-resistant organisms
Even though there is a risk of experiencing these side effects, its imperative to undergo the course of treatment your doctor prescribes to avoid the serious complications Lyme disease can have.