While most cases of Lyme disease can be treated quickly, they can also result in chronic Lyme disease if left untreated (or, in some cases, when treatment is ineffective). This condition is sometimes known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. Complications from Lyme disease can be harmful and should be addressed as soon as they’re recognized.
How Does Chronic Lyme Disease Develop?
A normal course of Lyme disease treatment involves a few weeks of antibiotics and a speedy recovery. In some cases, however, the treatment doesn’t work, or the disease wasn’t properly identified and treated. The following symptoms can last several months after the onset of the condition, but later stages of Lyme disease can also be treated.
One of the most common difficulties associated with chronic Lyme disease is the fact that it often presents very similarly to other conditions. It often leads to relatively generic signs and symptoms that even doctors may not recognize as coming from Lyme disease. It’s therefore important to know the signs, especially if you’ve recently been exposed to ticks.
Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Lyme Disease
If you think that you or someone you know may be dealing with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, compare their symptoms to those most commonly associated with the condition. Many are carried over from the earlier stage, including fatigue and chronic pain (especially in the joints). Some people also experience deficiencies related to short-term memory. These are some other symptoms to look out for:
- Reduction in sleep quality
- Trouble speaking
- Swollen joints, especially in the elbows, shoulders, and knees
- Difficulty concentrating
Combating Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome
While the treatment of normal cases of Lyme disease is based on an antibiotic regimen, there is conflicting evidence about the effectiveness of such medications for chronic Lyme disease. Most doctors will therefore attempt to address the symptoms of the condition rather than the cause.
If you’re receiving treatment for chronic Lyme disease, talk to your doctor about the symptoms you have difficulty managing. Doctors commonly prescribe anti-inflammatories and pain relievers, or simply recommend those available over the counter.
While the vast majority of Lyme disease cases will be cured by a simple course of antibiotics, ten to twenty percent of them will continue to develop. In these situations, the most important thing is early detection, so it’s vital to be aware of the potential symptoms. Pursuing early treatment is the best and quickest way to get rid of chronic Lyme disease.