T Nation

Arthritis and Lyme's Disease

Firstly I’d like to point out that this post is about my Dad. He’s always been healthy and pretty fit, but about 5 years contracted Lyme’s disease from a tick bite. At the time, most doctors refused to believe LD even existed and it was only through my dad’s research (he was in agony) that he found a doctor that would treat him - cue 3x weekly IV drips for a couple of months.

Fast forward a couple of years, and his hands and fingers are gnarling up. Doctors have simply said “its arthritis, tough luck, have some arbitrary medicine” or words to that effect. The way it has come on though, from zero to unable to unscrew jar lids with 2 years, we think it may still be something from the Lyme’s disease.

He’s been taking supplements of zinc, magnesium (I recently got him onto a decent ZMA rather than the crap he was buying from the chemist) fish oil and glucosamine but nothing seems to help. I’ve also suggested an elimination diet to see if anything there helps.

If anyone can suggest something that can help with the symptoms of arthritis, it would be much appreciated!

Theres different kinds of arthitis (with different treatments)

Gnarlled hands/fingers though sounds like RA tho

If its RA youre talking surgery, physical therapy, and a lifetime of medications. OTC stuff would be anti inflammatorys though.

You should google RA hands (and look at pictures) as well as read up on it, to see if that sounds right.

Its impossible to treat someone unless you know what the actual problem is.

So id strongly suggest doing some research

(ie read this)

It discusses the major ones, and could go a long way towards helping you find a specialist (as well as specific treatments)

Also Lymes Disease can cause arthitis as well

I agree. Symptoms fit RA, but at least rule out lyme arthritis.

If it is RA (and it certainly sounds like it, he’s already completely lost the use of the little finger on his left hand, knuckles are visibly swollen, digits are out of line) are there any supplements that can help?

I’ve been thinking of getting him to eliminate wheat and dairy to start with, in case of any immune-system clashes. Also thinking of natural inflammation reducing supps like Flame-Out, Circumin and Rez-V, along with otc meds like ibuprofen. Any opinions on the above, or would you consider it a waste of time & money?

Well make sure you read/consider this part if you think RA

“In rheumatoid arthritis, multiple joints are usually, but not always, affected in a symmetrical pattern.”

Obviously its not always, but if there is or isnt symmetry it makes RA significantly more/less likely.

If there is symmetry im gonna STRONGLY recommend getting a bloodtest.

“Rheumatoid factor is an antibody that is measurable in the blood. Rheumatoid factor is actually an antibody that can bind to other antibodies. Antibodies are normal proteins in our blood that are important parts of our immune system. Rheumatoid factor is an antibody that is not usually present in the normal individual.”

Thats a VERY easy test that could help out tremendously.

There are OTC supplements/herbs that have shown varying degrees of usefulness for things like RA, but if its RA you seriously need to see a specialist.

“Early medical intervention has been shown to be important in improving outcomes. Aggressive management can improve function, stop damage to joints as monitored on X-rays, and prevent work disability. Optimal treatment for the disease involves a combination of medications, rest, joint-strengthening exercises, joint protection, and patient (and family) education.”

The best things you can do require professional interventions, and the strongest/most successful stuff require prescriptions.

Osteoarthitis you can treat on an internet forum.

RA you cant.

Thanks for that, it really is much appreciated. I will probably have to physically force the stubborn old goat to the doctor’s but will definitely make sure he does it - bloody typical family stubbornness, won’t admit they’re ill til they’re on their death-bed!

With RA, is the forming of nodes still an occurrence (as per OA)or could this be mistaken for joint swelling?

[quote]Grumpig Hunt wrote:
If it is RA (and it certainly sounds like it, he’s already completely lost the use of the little finger on his left hand, knuckles are visibly swollen, digits are out of line) are there any supplements that can help?

I’ve been thinking of getting him to eliminate wheat and dairy to start with, in case of any immune-system clashes. Also thinking of natural inflammation reducing supps like Flame-Out, Circumin and Rez-V, along with otc meds like ibuprofen. Any opinions on the above, or would you consider it a waste of time & money? [/quote]
MEDICINE
NSAID, Prednisolone, Methotrexate, Rituximab, Humira, Abatacept, Roactemra… Things that make a difference.

Thanks for the input guys, after showing him pics of advanced RA I’ve persuaded him to go and see a professional - he had just put it down to “getting old”.

I’ve read a few times of people finding relief from arthritis after avoiding wheat/gluten. Eating wheat free for a month might be worth an experiment to see if it helps.

One example on that:

“Is it too much to say that eliminating wheat TRANSFORMS lives?”

http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2011/11/is-it-too-much-to-say-that-eliminating-wheat-transforms-lives/

In relation to his Lyme disease, did you ever consult the hospital in Inverness? They are apparently world experts in all things Lyme disease from all the cases contracted in the Highlands every year. No idea if it is connected to his RA has long term affects of the disease aren’t well known

I have a good friend who had the same thing… tick bite… contracted Lymes and now has the arthritis/gnarly hands. Even his elbows are effected (can’t fully straighten his arms). I’ll see if I can find out what he takes. He does smoke quite a bit of weed to keep the pain at bay.

[quote]Menthol wrote:
I’ve read a few times of people finding relief from arthritis after avoiding wheat/gluten. Eating wheat free for a month might be worth an experiment to see if it helps.

One example on that:

“Is it too much to say that eliminating wheat TRANSFORMS lives?”

http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2011/11/is-it-too-much-to-say-that-eliminating-wheat-transforms-lives/[/quote]

Yeah, after reading Wheat Belly I cut out wheat from my own diet to good effect, hoping to persuade my Dad to do the same.

[quote]Vulpes Vulpes wrote:
In relation to his Lyme disease, did you ever consult the hospital in Inverness? They are apparently world experts in all things Lyme disease from all the cases contracted in the Highlands every year. No idea if it is connected to his RA has long term affects of the disease aren’t well known[/quote]

No, we never knew about that one. He was working in the Middle East at the time, and Bahrain was the only place that would admit the disease existed - even then he had to push hard to find a doctor willing to treat him.

[quote]wallstrt wrote:
I have a good friend who had the same thing… tick bite… contracted Lymes and now has the arthritis/gnarly hands. Even his elbows are effected (can’t fully straighten his arms). I’ll see if I can find out what he takes. He does smoke quite a bit of weed to keep the pain at bay.[/quote]

Great, thanks. There seems to be some anecdotal evidence that suggests even ‘cured’ LD can lead to arthritis later on. He’s on holiday in Jamaica at the moment, hopefully he’ll take the chance to find out if weed helps :smiley: