Healthy Living

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

Doctors must be able to tell the difference between conditions

The key is differentiating between three possibilities when joint pain arises following Lyme disease: active joint infection, post-infectious Lyme arthritis, and a secondary inflammatory arthritis emerging post-Lyme. Doctors should look for multiple joint involvement, which may be a greater diagnostic factor for a condition such as RA. Moreover, they should ask about skin psoriasis, as it can be a strong indication that the issue is not Lyme arthritis. Being that Lyme disease cases are on the rise, Dr. Arvikar notes that there might be a relationship between Lyme disease and later autoimmune disease. “It’s a possibility that doctors need to consider in people who develop arthritis after Lyme infection,” she said.