Friday, April 19, 2024

Does Lyme Disease Cause Arthritis

Expert Care For Joint Pain From Lyme Disease

Long Haul Lyme Disease Risk Found: Even in Early Treated Patients | Johns Hopkins Rheumatology

At, Aurora Health Care, our team of more than 80 orthopedic specialists has years of experience and training caring for people with joint pain and other problems, like arthritis. This has led to fast and accurate diagnoses for the people we treat so they can return to their busy lifestyles.

Highlights of our program also include:

Seeking To Unlock The Mysteries Of Lyme Arthritis

A nature lover from early childhood, Karie Behm found peace and renewal through hiking and cross-country running. She spent much of her time exploring the forested terrain of her native Kansas, as well as Minnesota and Colorado, during family vacations.

She did not suspect that on one unremarkable day, microscopic, corkscrew-like pathogens known as spirochetes would stealthily invade her body, causing a succession of painful, debilitating and perplexing disease symptoms. It would take physicians over six years to untangle the mystery.

Behm had contracted Lyme disease, following a tick bite.

A recent doctoral graduate from the School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, Behm has devoted her energies to unlocking some of the secrets of Lyme disease, a tenacious ailment affecting some 500,000 Americans every year.

People have finally come to the realization that Lyme disease has been around a long time and has been affecting a lot of people who have been chronically ill and couldnt get help, Behm says. Patient advocacy groups have been working tirelessly for the last 20 years to try to bring attention to this problem. Its not a little thing and its not a joke. It can affect you your entire life.

Life With Lyme Disease: A Woman’s 15

Scientists estimate that 10 to 20 percent of patients diagnosed and treated for Lyme continue to suffer symptoms such as arthritis, brain fog, pain and fatigue.

While Jutrass work focused on Lyme arthritis, its entirely possible that the findings may apply to other lingering Lyme symptoms.

Whenever and wherever the bacteria grow, they shed peptidoglycan, so it seems plausible that it may be important in other late-stage Lyme manifestations, Jutras said.

The new findings could be an important new insight into Lyme arthritis and maybe other outcomes of infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, said Mark Soloski, an immunologist and a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and co-director for basic research for the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center, who like Alaedini was not involved in the new study.

Soloskis own research points to immune system malfunctions. Our patients showed inflammation in unique regions of the brain, which suggests an immune process may be driving the symptoms, Soloski said.

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Practical Assessment And Treatment Of Pain Arthritis And Fibromyalgia In Lyme Disease

Pain is common in early and late-stage Lyme disease. The first, and most important, step is proper testing to determine if Lyme disease and/or associated infections are the cause of the pain. Bacteria from tickborne infections can directly damage joints, trigger an immune response that creates inflammation, and cause an autoimmune reaction that leads to pain.

If symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, fevers, or brain fog are present along with pain, this suggests a systemic infection may be involved. Infections can trigger autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, so a thorough investigation is warranted. Multiple therapies can help reduce pain and inflammation caused by Lyme disease and associated infections, but ultimately successful treatment of the infections is most important.

Can A Person Contract Southern Lyme Disease From Lone Star Ticks

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Lone star ticks do not transmit Lyme disease. However, they can spread tularemia, ehrlichiosis, and southern tick-associated rash illness .

As with Lyme disease, STARI causes a rash that appears similar to a bulls-eye. The rash typically appears within 7 days of being bitten by a lone star tick.

Unlike Lyme disease, STARI does not appear to have an association with arthritis, chronic symptoms, or neurological problems.

Healthcare professionals do not know which pathogen causes STARI.

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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.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Early symptoms usually appear within 3 to 30 days after the bite of an infected tick. In 60-80 percent of cases, a circular bulls eye rash about two inches in diameter, called erythema migrans, appears and expands around or near the site of the tick bite. Sometimes, multiple rash sites appear. One or more of the following symptoms usually mark the early stage of Lyme disease: chills and fever, headache, fatigue, stiff neck, muscle and/or joint pain, and swollen glands. If Lyme disease is unrecognized or untreated in the early stage, more severe symptoms may occur. As the disease progresses, severe fatigue, a stiff aching neck, and tingling or numbness in the arms and legs, or facial paralysis can occur. The most severe symptoms of Lyme disease may not appear until weeks, months or years after the tick bite. These can include severe headaches, painful arthritis, swelling of the joints, and heart and central nervous system problems.

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Imaging For Lyme Arthritis

X-rays are a helpful diagnostic tool to identify the cause of arthritis and pain. Joint space narrowing is the hallmark finding on X-ray in osteoarthritis, and not seen in other causes of joint pain. Lyme disease rarely causes changes of the bones on X-ray.

Soft tissue swelling will be seen with Lyme disease and trauma, not in other conditions.

An MRI of a joint is useful at differentiating Lyme arthritis from septic arthritis or structural damage. In Lyme disease, an MRI will demonstrate joint effusion, synovitis, and muscle edema .

Can Lyme Disease Cause Skin Problems

Understanding the Persistent Symptoms in Lyme Disease | Johns Hopkins Medicine

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. Stage 2 begins when the bacteria spread to other parts of your body. During this stage, you may see small, oval rashes on your skin.

Can Lyme disease cause red spots?

Rash. From three to 30 days after an infected tick bite, an expanding red area might appear that sometimes clears in the center, forming a bulls-eye pattern. The rash expands slowly over days and can spread to 12 inches across.

What skin lesions are associated with Lyme disease?

The three characteristic cutaneous manifestations are erythema migrans, borrelial lymphocytoma, and acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans. Erythema migrans occurs in acute Lyme borreliosis, lymphocytoma is a subacute lesion, and acrodermatitis is the typical manifestation of late Lyme borreliosis.

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What Is Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and is spread to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks . Not all deer ticks are infected with the bacteria. Lyme disease can affect people of any age. A vaccine for Lyme disease is not currently available. Lyme disease is the most prevalent tick-borne disease in New York and has been reportable since 1986.

Find Out For Sure If Your Arthritis Is Caused By Chronic Lyme

Unfortunately, you cant go to your doctors office today and get your joints tested for peptidoglycan. So, how do you know if your arthritis symptoms are really a case of chronic Lyme in disguise?

Well, there are certain things to watch out for

Obviously, a history of tick exposure is a huge red flag. But besides that, Lyme arthritis tends to follow a different course than osteoarthritis or other forms of the disease.

People with Lyme arthritis will have sudden attacks of joint swelling in one or more joints. The swelling will last for several weeks or months and then subside, only to return later. These attacks usually start in the knee joint, but they can affect other large joints too. So, if your arthritis starts with waxing and waning attacks, theres a chance its Lyme arthritis rather than osteoarthritis.

Related:This sweet solution to Lyme disease

Now, waxing and waning attacks do happen with a different type of arthritis the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis . But there are differences in how RA typically shows up. RA usually starts in the hands, feet, and wrists and affects both sides of the body. Lyme arthritis affects big joints like the knee and only shows up on one side.

Still, if you have strong suspicions about your arthritis, its worth a trip to the doc for some initial testing. Because if your arthritis is caused by a bacterial infection rather than wear and tear it opens a whole new world of treatment options that you may have missed otherwise.

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Is It Lyme Arthritis Or Jia

A Lyme arthritis diagnosis requires a two-step testing approach. False positives are complex and common.

The authors of a review article on the differentiating factors of Lyme arthritis in children recommend that patients suspected of having juvenile idiopathic arthritis in endemic regions for Lyme disease, may have Lyme arthritis and should be screened for Lyme disease.

Two-tier testing is advisable when a patients history suggests a possibility of potential tick bite, writes Elübieta Smolewska this month in the journal Pediatric Rheumatology. The development of consistent worldwide guidelines would simplify the diagnostic process in everyday pediatric practice.

In the absence of such guidelines, Dr. Smolewska and colleagues reviewed the scientific evidence for Lyme arthritis in children.

Clinical features

In the United States, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto is the main cause of Lyme arthritis, while in Europe, two other genospecies of Borrelia burgdorferi have been implicated in Lyme disease: B. garinii and B. afzelii. The two are different in that an infection of the latter occurs within a short period of time from a tick bite, as opposed to a Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto infection which can manifest months later any month of the year, not only during summer months.


Treating Pain Causes By Lyme Disease

4 Charts

When Lyme disease is the cause of pain and arthritis, the primary goal is to remove the bacteria that started a cascade of reactions that contributed to the pain. Just as importantly, the fire of inflammation that has been lit needs to be treated. This inflammation is present with active infections, but can also persist after the infections are successfully treated.


The foundation for reducing systemic inflammation in the body is to avoid foods that are inflammatory. The foods that most commonly create inflammation are gluten, cow dairy, and sugar. If food allergy testing has been performed, the reactive foods should also be avoided. People with other conditions such as SIBO or MCAS may also need to follow a specific diet. Any food that creates inflammation adds to the level of inflammation already being produced by infections.

Herbal Treatment for Pain

The herb turmeric is one of the most effective treatments for reducing the pro-inflammatory cytokines produced by the immune system in response to tick-borne infections. This reduction in inflammation leads to a reduction in muscle and joint pain, and joint swelling.

Low-dose immunotherapy is a promising therapy that works to improve the immune response in Lyme disease

LDI uses very dilute doses of bacterial antigens to help down-regulate the inflammation produced by bacteria. This treatment has provided remarkable benefits for many people who suffer from pain and neuropathy from Lyme disease and associated infections.

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Can A Person Contract Lyme Disease Anywhere In The United States

The states that it is not possible to contract Lyme disease anywhere in the U.S. Most infections occur in the:

  • northeast and mid-Atlantic, which includes northeastern Virginia to Maine
  • north central states, typically in Wisconsin and Minnesota
  • West Coast, mostly in northern California

Two tick species can carry B. burgdorferi in the U.S.: the blacklegged tick and the Western blacklegged tick .

Some people refer to the blacklegged tick as a deer tick. They live in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central U.S. The Western blacklegged tick lives on the Pacific Coast of the U.S.

Lyme Disease Is A Growing Problem

Lyme disease has become much more of a concern since 2002. According to the CDC, about 30,000 cases are reported each year, though the agency says this is probably lower than the true number of cases because of undercounting. This is compared with about 24,000 cases that were reported in 2002. A study using private insurance-claims data estimated that about 476,000 patients were diagnosed with and treated for Lyme disease between 2010 and 2018.

In 2022, a study estimated that 15% of the global population had contracted Lyme disease at some point in their lifetimes.

One theory for increasing Lyme prevalence in the American Northeast involves the rise of patchy forests, which leads to more of a particular kind of mouse that’s a great reservoir for Lyme-causing bacteria. Additionally, the climate crisis is expanding the range of disease-carrying ticks because warmer temperatures can speed up the life cycle of ticks and make winters more survivable.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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Lyme Arthritis: Highly Treatable Slow To Resolve


VAIL, COLO. Arthritis is far and away the most common manifestation of late Lyme disease, affecting up to 30% of children whose early-stage disease went untreated.

Lyme arthritis presents with a distinctive clinical picture. Nevertheless, this common condition is often initially mismanaged as a joint sprain or other orthopedic injury, with the correct diagnosis coming only following referral after a month or more with no improvement, according to Dr. Roberta L. DeBiasi, acting chief of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at Childrens National Medical Center, Washington.

Dr. Roberta L. DeBiasi

We see tons of kids with Lyme arthritis. We get two or three cases every week in our clinic, she said at the conference.

Lyme arthritis occurs months to years after an untreated exposure to Borrelia burgdorferi. Affected patients typically present with a history of recurrent, weeks- or months-long attacks of joint swelling in one or a few joints. The knee is by far the most common site, but other large joints can be involved, as can the temporomandibular joint. An involved knee may swell up to literally the size of a basketball, yet the child has no fever, erythema, or systemic complaints, and surprisingly little pain given the effusion size.

Dr. DeBiasi reported having no financial conflicts.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Treatment of Lyme Arthritis, Post-Infectious Lyme Arthritis and Complications by John Aucott, MD

Symptoms can start anywhere from 3 to 30 days after the bite. They may look different depending on the stage of your infection. In some cases, you wonât notice any symptoms until months after the bite.

Early symptoms include:

All of those symptoms are also common in the flu. In most Lyme infections, one of the first symptoms youâll notice is a rash.

Without treatment, symptoms can get worse. They might include:

  • Severe headache or neck stiffness
  • Rashes on other areas of your body
  • Arthritis with joint pain and swelling, particularly in your knees
  • âDroopingâ on one or both sides of your face
  • Inflammation in your brain and spinal cord
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in your hands or feet

What does the rash look like?

Some Lyme rashes look like a bulls-eye with circles around the middle. But most are round, red, and at least 2 inches across.

The rash slowly gets bigger over several days. It can grow to about 12 inches across. It may feel warm to the touch, but itâs usually not itchy or painful. It can show up on any part of your body.

How small are ticks?

Ticks come in three sizes, depending on their life stage. They can be the size of a grain of sand, a poppy seed, or an apple seed.

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Lyme Arthritis Can Cause Severe Pain And Permanent Joint Damage

Approximately one in four Lyme disease patients may develop Lyme arthritis, involving chronic joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints. The disorder occurs when the Lyme disease bacteria migrate to joint tissues, causing inflammation.

If left untreated, Lyme arthritis causes permanent damage to joints. While knees are the most commonly affected area, other large joints may be involved, including the shoulder, ankle, elbow, jaw, wrist or hip.

Following diagnosis, Lyme disease is treated with a course of antibiotics, which can work to eliminate the spirochete bacteria and gradually relieve symptoms. Yet, there is an important caveat: time is of the essence.

The existing treatments generally dont work if youve been infected more than two to six months prior, Hansen says.

The result can be a collection of symptoms referred to as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome. The causes are varied and remain poorly understood. It may be that the bacterium has changed form and sequestered itself in ways that evade detection. In other cases, autoimmune responses may be involved. To date, no treatment exists for these common complications.

Roughly 70,000 people in the U.S. each year experience lifelong, untreatable Lyme disease. Among these are some 42,000 who develop Lyme arthritis. Currently, physicians have had little to offer such patients, but that may be about to change.

Effects On Taste And Smell

Lyme disease may affect the cranial nerves in the back of your brain. These help with sensations such as smell and taste. The effects of Lyme disease on these nerves may cause:

  • heightened sensitivity to smell

2019 ILADS report notes that weight gain is a possible symptom of untreated chronic Lyme disease. Untreated could mean a delayed diagnosis.

The aches, pains, and swollen joints commonly associated with Lyme disease may make it hard for you to remain active. Less exercise and physical activity may result in weight gain for some people.

Weight gain may also result from changes in appetite, shifts in mood, and depression.

The antibiotics you use to treat Lyme disease may also play a role. Antibiotics affect gut health by changing the collection of microbes in your gut. This may alter how your GI system breaks down food and absorbs calories, leading to weight gain.

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