Lyme Disease Symptoms & Misdiagnoses

Lyme disease imitates over 250 conditions giving it its name the “Great Imitator.” It is a complex disease that affects several bodily systems and manifests uniquely in each person. Medical schools do not teach enough about Lyme disease, leaving most practitioners unaware of its devastating effects. Only in the last twenty years, practitioners started educating themselves about the condition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) re-analyzed their 20 years of infection data to create a new map of high-risk US counties. The results showed that 17 states were at high risk for Lyme disease transmission. The CDC concluded that diagnosis estimates should be closer to 300,000 per year than the previously stated 30,000.

Potential comorbidities and coinfections often accompany Lyme disease. Lyme tends to trigger other environmental conditions treated at BioNexus Health like biotoxin illness, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and PANS. The difficulty is figuring out if it’s one, three, or twenty other complications. 

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What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by bacterial species borrelia. Lyme is known as a vector-borne disease in the medical world, meaning a bite of an infected arthropod species causes the disease. Ticks are the most commonly associated arthropod to carry Lyme disease. 

Lyme disease is also a multi-system disease – affecting or involving more than one bodily system. Lyme disease commonly affects three of the ten systems: nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system. Coinfections often accompany Lyme borreliosis when the initial infection occurs. When coinfections like Bartonella henselae are present, the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular are also typically affected.

Misdiagnosed Lyme disease often occurs because it can affect several systems and, therefore, imitate several disorders. The most common –

Misdiagnosed Lyme Disease in Pediatrics:

  • autism spectrum disorder
  • chronic motor tics syndrome
  • chronic relapsing multifocal osteomyelitis
  • neuropathy
  • pragmatic language disorder
  • relapsing fever syndrome
  • Tourette’s syndrome

Misdiagnosed Lyme Disease in Adults:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • endocrinopathies
  • lupus
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • rheumatoid arthritis

How is Lyme disease contracted?

Lyme disease transmits through Borrelia burgdorferi infected deer ticks, fleas, bedbugs, and some mosquito bites. A Lyme spirochete (pronounced spiro’keet) is a corkscrew-shaped bacteria that slices through the connective tissue in the body. In the brain, it increases the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, which increases the ability of other pathogens to enter and compromise the immune system. 

It’s important to know that not all bites result in Lyme disease. It could also be transmitted in other ways, including in utero from mother to child, known as gestational Lyme. Children born with Lyme may present with autism symptoms or other chronic conditions between 18 months and four years old.

Lyme is a severe and debilitating disease. If Lyme is more than tick-borne, we need to learn how to protect ourselves from contracting it.

Lyme Disease Symptoms

Early warning signs of a tick-borne infection present physically as:

  • chills
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • headache
  • muscle and joint aches
  • rash, not always as the telltale bull’s eye (Erythema migrans rash)
  • swollen lymph nodes

As a multi-system disease, Lyme disease can affect nearly any part of the body. Post-treatment Lyme, untreated, or inadequate treatment could lead to long-term neurological conditions due to a weakened blood-brain-barrier.

Neuro Manifestations of Tick-borne Infections

  • abnormal movements
  • acting out
  • ADHD
  • aggression
  • ANS dysfunction
  • Bell’s palsy (facial paralysis)
  • brain fog
  • cognitive problems
  • confusion
  • cranial nerve dysfunction
  • defensiveness
  • depression
  • distractibility
  • emotional lability
  • encephalitis
  • fasciculations
  • fatigue
  • feelings of jabbing stabbing, or electric shock
  • hyperactivity
  • hypersensitivity to light, sound, taste, smell, sound
  • hypotonia
  • illogic
  • impaired balance
  • impulsivity
  • lapses in memory
  • less coordination
  • limb falling asleep
  • limits on abstract thinking
  • memory loss
  • mood disorders
  • neuralgia
  • neuritis
  • neuropathy
  • OCD, panic, anxiety
  • ODD
  • pain
  • paresthesias
  • personality changes
  • phobias
  • poor coordination
  • poor judgment
  • reduced analytical ability
  • repetitive motions
  • self-harm
  • sensations of burning, stinging, pins and needles
  • speech impediments
  • speech problems
  • tics
  • tremors
  • vision problems due to nerve involvement
  • volatility

In children, tick-borne illnesses can affect every aspect of development. A child may stop growing, gain a noise or light intolerance, show apathy and irritability, or prefer solitude in a dark-quiet space.