Healthy Living

Why Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lyme Disease Are Getting Misdiagnosed for Each Other

Most people with Lyme who are not treated will go on to develop arthritis

Lyme arthritis as a result of Lyme disease is well-known. Over 60% of patients who are not treated with antibiotics are likely to experience Lyme arthritis. For a majority of these patients, treating the Borrelia infection that causes Lyme disease also clears up the Lyme arthritis. The distinction lies in the area affected and treatment. Lyme arthritis is typically limited to one joint (a single knee) in 80% of cases and usually clears up with short-term treatment, whereas systemic arthritis typically involves multiple joints of the hands and feet and requires long-term treatment. “The majority of Lyme arthritis patients respond to appropriate oral or intravenous antibiotic treatment, but some patients have persistent proliferative synovitis in previously infected joints, usually a knee, after 2 to 3 months of such therapy, termed post-infectious, antibiotic-refractory arthritis,” explained the researchers.