There is more and more research suggesting that a variety of present day illnesses could be as a direct result of bacteria. The spirochete bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, which was “discovered” in Lyme, Connecticut, has actually been around for a considerable period of time and has had different names. It has been found in Amber in the Dominican Republic and it was found in the Iceman, Otzi.
Could many of the present day, and fairly recently discovered, autoimmune diseases/illnesses be caused by Borrelia? Could some cases of the illnesses that Canada has a high incident rate for, such as MS, actually be as a result of tick-borne diseases? These are questions that we cannot presently answer because the testing, and knowledge, is not adequate.
Every time I receive yet another diagnosis, I immediately Google the diagnosis and Lyme to see if there could be any connection. It’s crazy how many now have research to suggest that at least some cases of a number of different illnesses could be as a result of Borrelia burgdorferi or another Tick-borne pathogen.
The following are just a few that I have found. I only linked one research article for each one but some have many more:
Lichen sclerosus – “Possible Role of Borrelia burgdorferi Sensu Lato Infection in Lichen Sclerosus – https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/fullarticle/419698
Irritable Bowel Syndrome – “Intestinal Pseudoobstruction Caused by Chronic Lyme Neuroborreliosis. A Case Report.” – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4496901/
Dementia – “Secondary dementia due to Lyme neuroborreliosis” – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6096534/
Juvenile arthritis – “Clinical characteristics, treatment and outcome of children with Lyme arthritis in Nova Scotia” – https://academic.oup.com/pch/article/20/7/377/2281049
Temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) – “Lyme disease misdiagnosed as TMJ Syndrome. A case report. – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2812630/
ALS – “ALS mimic by neuroborreliosis – A case report.” – https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ccr3.2569. This is interesting in that the case discussed ended up not being deemed neuroborreliosis but the report suggests: “… it is vital to exclude potentially treatable differential diagnoses such as neuroborreliosis.”
AV Heart block – https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/anec.12599
I could go on and on but you get my drift.
Many people reach out to me in an attempt to determine whether they might be dealing with Tick-borne diseases. Rather than recommend a blood test, I first suggest filling out one, or both, of the two following questionnaires:
- “The General Symptom Questionnaire-30 (CSQ-30): A Brief Measure of Multi-System Symptom Burden in Lyme Disease” – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6908481/; and/or
- “Horowitz Lyme-MSIDS Questionnaire – https://www.eomega.org/article/is-it-lyme-disease
The symptoms of Lyme and other Tick-borne diseases can build without proper treatment and they can be so diverse that they don’t make sense to those with them, or those trying to diagnose. The potential list of symptoms is long and, taken separately, or only a couple at a time, could be almost anything. The general rule of thumb is if you have a number of symptoms (say 20 or more) affecting multiple systems; they come and go; they migrate; and they are slowly building; consider a Tick-borne disease (or two!).
There are other areas where you can find more comprehensive symptom lists, such as on the Canadian Lyme Disease Association (CanLyme) website, but even the CDC or Health Canada have lists that show the three stages of untreated Lyme. Many still seem to believe that Lyme is just a rash and flu-like symptoms. Most of our health care providers have limited knowledge as to the early and late disseminated Lyme symptoms, or even that they exist.
How do we ensure that ALL health care providers, whether GP’s, Specialists, Nurse Practitioners, etc., are adequately trained in all stages of Lyme and Tick-borne diseases? How do we ensure that your GP looks at more than one symptom at a time and tries to reach a diagnosis, rather than just attempting to mask symptoms?
Education of Tick-borne diseases must be significantly increased in medical school and those already in the field need to be mandated to continue their education on the issue. We are way past the time to suggest that Tick-borne diseases are “emerging” and we are also dealing with too many extremely sick people to suggest that doctors are too busy to investigate Tick-borne diseases. The time is now!
Nova Scotia, and other areas, need to take a page from Manitoba, and take this issue seriously. The cost to patients and our health care system is becoming prohibitive.