You are probably aware that ticks are not born with Lyme disease. They do not emerge from their egg sacks with this harmful disease that can cause lifelong health complications for humans. Lyme disease is not passed from tick to tick through the breeding process. In fact, ticks don't carry Lyme disease at all.
Jul 19, 2019 · There are similarities between Lyme and MS in both neurologic symptoms and test results. 2 Blood tests look for the presence of antibodies to Borrelia: the Borrelia burgdorferi spirochete is the bacteria that causes Lyme disease and can penetrate virtually any organ or system in the body. 1.
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How is Lyme disease diagnosed?
Can Lyme disease present itself like multiple sclerosis?
Can Lyme disease mimic MS?
Can people with chronic Lyme disease get disability?
Lyme disease has been mistaken for multiple sclerosis (MS). [12,13] In fact, one author estimated that 5% – 10% of patients presumed to have MS suffered from other conditions including Lyme disease.  Three cases of neuroborreliosis were initially misdiagnosed as anterior ischemic optic neuropathy caused by giant cell arteritis.
- Clinical Judgment
- Labs and Tests
- Differential Diagnoses
- Early vs. Later Diagnosis
Though you can't diagnose or rule out Lyme disease on your own, you can look for the tell-tale symptoms and make sure you understand when you need to see your doctor. You should always inspect yourself, your children, and your pets for ticks after they've been outdoors as well.2 You should see your doctor under these circumstances: 1. If you have the distinctive erythema migrans rash3 that comes with many cases of Lyme disease, even if you're not sure you've been bitten by a tick. This red rash will likely expand and may start to look like a bull's eye. 2. If you have flu-like symptoms that aren't going away, and especially if you live in or have recently been to a region of the United States where Lyme disease is more prevalent (this includes the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and north-central states).4 3. If you know you had a tick attached for more than 48 hours and you have a rash and/or flu-like symptoms.5
Again, only healthcare providers can diagnose Lyme disease.6 In making the diagnosis of Lyme disease, your healthcare provider will consider several factors: 1. Detailed medical history 2. Physical examination 3. Symptoms 4. Time of year (tick bites are most likely to occur in the summer months) 5. Habits/location (for example, whether or not you spend time outdoors in an area where Lyme disease is more common) 6. Known history of a tick bite
There are three stages of Lyme disease,7 including: 1. Early localized stage 2. Early disseminated stage 3. Late stage The characteristics of the disease at these stages, as well as any ongoing treatment, can make testing for it challenging. Some people with nervous system symptoms may also get a spinal tap, which allows a healthcare provider to detect brain and spinal cord inflammation and look for antibodies or genetic material of B. burgdorferi in spinal fluid.8 Antibody Tests Healthcare providers cannot always firmly establish whether Lyme disease bacteria are causing symptoms. In the first few weeks following infection, antibody tests9 are not reliable because your immune systemhas not produced enough antibodies to be detected. Antibiotics that are given early during infection may also prevent your antibodies from reaching detectable levels, even though Lyme disease bacteria are causing your symptoms. The antibody test most often used is called an EIA (enzyme immunoassay) te...
Lyme disease is sometimes called "The Great Imitator" because it so often mimics many other illnesses, according to LymeDisease.org,16 a non-profit that advocates for health care for people with Lyme disease as well as other tick-borne infections. Conversely, other types of arthritis or other autoimmune diseasescan be misdiagnosed as Lyme disease. Symptoms of Lyme disease can mimic conditions such as: 1. Influenza (the flu) 2. Infectious mononucleosis17 3. Rheumatoid arthritis18 4. Fibromyalgia 5. Chronic fatigue syndrome19 6. Multiple sclerosis20 7. Alzheimer's disease 8. Heart disease 9. Migraine headaches 10. Lymphoma Your healthcare provider will consider all of these possibilities when making a diagnosis.
Lyme disease has been diagnosed long enough, and the infectious bacteria that causes it is easy enough to identify, that most patients with early Lyme disease are able to find a doctor who can accurately diagnose it. Even those patients who are originally told by a doctor that their symptoms are all in their headare often able to find another doctor to help them get the accurate diagnosis. But in some cases, patients find great difficulty in getting a Lyme disease diagnosis.21 And that's because there is a controversy that surrounds such a diagnosis for patients who don't suffer symptoms until long after they were possibly bitten by a tick. While some people exhibit symptoms, including the classic "bull's eye" rash, early after a tick bite, it's possible that symptoms won't show up for months or years after being infected.4 Furthermore, some patients are treated early with antibiotics, but those antibiotics don't completely destroy the Lyme Borreliabacteria, or other symptoms occu...
- Diagnostic Considerations
- Differential Diagnoses
In most patients with erythema migrans, a carefully elicited history (including definitions of epidemiologic context) and a physical examination are all that is required to establish the diagnosis of Lyme disease. However, although many patients with Lyme disease present with erythema migrans, others first present with extracutaneous symptoms. In those cases, erythema migrans may never have occurred, may not have been recognized by the patient, or may not have been correctly diagnosed by the physician. There can be a tendency to overdiagnose Lyme disease, especially in patients with a lifestyle that puts them in a high-risk category. Performing tests when the prior probability of disease is low increases the likelihood of false-positive results. The best way to avoid problems with diagnosis is to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines regarding diagnosis (see Workup), to use a reputable laboratory with experience in testing for Lyme disease, and to ob...
The pathogens responsible for babesiosis and ehrlichiosis share the same tick vector as B burgdorferi, making co-infection possible. Severe and even fatal acute infection caused by these pathogens is more common in asplenic individuals (babesiosis) or older adults (ehrlichiosis). Unlike B burgdorferi,however, these pathogens do not cause chronic infection. To add to the confusion, ehrlichial infection may cause a false-positive result for Lyme disease on immunoglobulin M (IgM) Western blot analysis. In a prospective study from New York State, 52 adult patients with erythema migrans who had not received treatment for Lyme disease underwent testing for Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Babesia microti, Borrelia miyamotoi, and the deer tick virus subtype of Powassan virus. Nearly 90% of the patients showed no evidence of co-infection. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for B microti DNA were positive in 3 patients, one of whom also had a positive blood smear; these patients also had clinic...
Jun 30, 2019 · Lyme disease and multiple sclerosis have similar symptoms. Because their symptoms can be so similar, these two conditions are often confused. Read on to learn more about the signs of both and how ...
Diagnosis of Lyme disease is made through a clinical decision making process that includes a medical history, physical exam, review of past diagnostic tests and consultations, and results from newly ordered tests. In early Lyme disease, one can make the diagnosis of Lyme disease with near 100% certainty when the expanding red rash is present.
Lyme disease is a bacterial disease transmitted by infected ticks. It was first recognized in the United States in 1975 after a mysterious outbreak of arthritis near Old Lyme, Connecticut. Since then, reports of Lyme disease have increased dramatically, and the disease has become an important public health problem.
If Lyme disease is not diagnosed and treated early, the spirochetes can spread and may go into hiding in different parts of the body. Weeks, months or even years later, patients may develop problems with the brain and nervous system, muscles and joints, heart and circulation, digestion, reproductive system, and skin. Symptoms may disappear even without treatment and different symptoms may appear at different times. Untreated or undertreated Lyme can cause some people to develop severe symptoms that are hard to resolve. This condition may be referred to as post-treatment Lyme disease (PTLD) or chronic Lyme disease (CLD). We dont know exactly how many people who are diagnosed and treated remain ill. CDC estimates range from 10-20%. A recent study of early Lyme disease treated at EM rash reported 36% remain ill. (Aucott 2013) Many patients with chronic Lyme disease are profoundly debilitated. Investigators of the four NIH-sponsored retreatment trials documented that the patients quality of life was consistently worse than that of control populations and equivalent to that of patients with congestive heart failure. Pain levels were similar to those of post-surgical patients, and fatigue was on par with that seen in multiple sclerosis. An LDo published survey of over 3,000 patients with chronic Lyme disease found that patients suffer a worse quality of life than most other chronic illnesses, including congestive heart failure, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and arthritis. Over 70% of patients with chronic Lyme disease reported fair or poor health. Similar results have been found in other studies. (Cameron, 2008)
LymeDisease.org has developed a Lyme disease symptom checklist to help you document your exposure to Lyme disease and common symptoms for your healthcare provider. You will receive a report that you can print out and take with you to your next doctors appointment.
Many of the symptoms associated with Lyme disease are common in other diseases. The CDC surveillance criteria for confirmed cases specifically exclude most of the symptoms that patients report, including fatigue, sleep impairment, joint pain, muscle aches, other pain, depression, cognitive impairment, neuropathy, and headaches. However, these common symptoms can be severe and may seriously affect quality of life.
In LDos chronic Lyme disease survey, over 75% of patients reported at least one symptom as severe or very severe and 63% reported two or more such symptoms. (Johnson 2014) Find out more about LDo peer-reviewed published surveys. The chart below shows the severity of ten common chronic Lyme symptoms.
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