Multiple Sclerosis Often Confused With Lyme Disease

Multiple Sclerosis

Some conditions can have similar symptoms. If you feel dizzy, tired, or have tingling or numbness in your legs or arms, you may have multiple sclerosis (MS) or Lyme disease. Both conditions are very different in nature but they present themselves similarly. Symptoms alone may be quite confusing and therefore multiple sclerosis can be easily confused with Lyme disease.

Julia Marshall-Wessendorf, mother-of-three, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2010. After doing some research she discovered she may have been infected with Lyme disease. After years of expensive injections and drug therapy for MS, all of her symptoms were cleared by a simple course of antibiotics. Now she is calling for greater awareness to be made of the tiny parasites. (1)

Lyme disease affects more than 300,000 people each year. It is caused by a bite from a black-legged tick or deer tick, which transfer Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Mosquitos, biting flies, spiders, and mice are also known transmitters of Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is also called “The Great Imitator” because it can imitate over 100 different diseases without known causes or cures.

60 to 80 percent of those infected with Lyme disease get a large, red rash described as a bulls-eye. Other symptoms include a headache, flu-like illness with fever, stiff neck, and joint and muscle pains.

Lyme disease can cause delayed neurologic symptoms almost identical to those seen in multiple sclerosis (MS) such as

  • blurred vision caused by optic neuritis

  • weakness Multiple Sclerosis Lyme Disease

  • spasms

  • neck stiffness

  • walking difficulties

  • dizziness

  • dysesthesias (sensations of burning, itching, stabbing pain, or “pins and needles”)

  • fatigue

  • confusion and

  • cognitive dysfunction.

Symptoms of Lyme disease may also have a relapsing-remitting course.

Additionally, Lyme disease occasionally produces other abnormalities that are the same to those in MS, including positive findings on scans of the brain and analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

By finding all of these similarities in test results and symptoms some people with MS often decide to seek test for the presence of antibodies to Borrelia. The test is in order to determine if their neurologic symptoms are the result truly of MS or Lyme disease. This is very important because when Lyme disease often responds to an early treatment with antibiotic therapy, whereas MS does not.

Multiple sclerosis actually, is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the myelin, a protective coating around the nerves and spinal cord. As myelin deteriorates, it damages the spinal cord and nerves, thus causing the MS symptoms.

Studies examining Lyme disease & Multiple sclerosis

This is not too controversial anymore because there are a few studies that show that antibiotics help against Multiple Sclerosis. (2) But seems like it is still controversial why antibiotics work.  (3)

Dr. Alan B. MacDonald, Pathologist at the St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center claims that the most of the researchers deny the existence of spirochetal cystic forms such as Borrelia burgdorferi. (4)

Tom Grier is a microbiologist who was misdiagnosed as having Multiple sclerosis but contracted Lyme neuroborreliosis. He is an expert on Borrelia bacteria and considers it very likely that MS is in fact, a symptom of Lyme disease. He accused the medical establishment of ignorance and corruption. (5) (6)

Could Multiple sclerosis and Lyme be the Same Disease?

Considering the controversy and what we know about the elusive nature of Lyme disease it seems reasonable to accept the possibility that MS and Lyme are the same diseases.

How to get proper “MS” treatment

  • Insist on the most reliable testing for Lyme disease

  • Insist on the best treatment for Lyme disease

  • Ask your “expert” to start a trial with oral antibiotics

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