Chronic Lyme disease develops if an individual under treatment with antibiotics continues to have symptoms.
A small percentage of cases treated with antibiotics have symptoms that last after complete treatment. These symptoms include joint or muscle pain, fatigue and cognitive dysfunction. These symptoms can last up to 6 months or longer. The symptoms can disrupt with normal activities. Nevertheless, most symptoms improve after 6 months to a year.
What are the signs?
Generally, the indications of chronic Lyme disease strikingly resemble those that arise in the earlier phases. Those who have persistent symptoms often have lingering episodes of the following:
- Restless sleep
- Aching muscles or joints
- Swelling or pain in the shoulders, knees, elbows and other large joints in the body
- Speech issues
- Diminished short-term memory or difficulty with concentration
Management of chronic Lyme disease
If diagnosed at an early phase, the treatment involves a 2-3-week course of oral antibiotics such as amoxicillin, doxycycline and cefuroxime. Depending on the condition and other symptoms present, other antibiotics or intravenous treatment might be needed.
The precise cause of chronic Lyme disease is unknown, thus there has been some debate on the suitable treatment. Some suggest continued antibiotics, but this will not improve the chances of recovery.
The treatment is often aimed on alleviating the pain. Over-the-counter or prescription pain medications can be given to manage the joint pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and intra-articular steroids can be given to manage joint swelling.