What does Lyme disease look like?

If Lyme is not treated aggressively, immediately after the initial infection, it can become chronic and persistent.

by Brenda Haas-Krieger — 

Lyme is called “the great imitator” because it can look like so many different ailments. In one person, it may look like fibromyalgia, in another like Parkinson’s and in another, the symptoms may be mostly cognitive. Lyme disease is, therefore, very commonly misdiagnosed.

Lyme is most often associated with a tick bite. But times change and bacteria adapt. Stephen Harrod Buhner, in his book Healing Lyme: Natural Healing and Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis and Its Co-infections, makes a strong case for Lyme disease now being transmitted by fleas, mosquitoes, via sexual contact and from mother to child through the placenta. Lyme is transmitted as a spirochete, a crafty bacterium with a spiral shape that twirls and burrows its way into the joints, brain, heart — just about any body tissue. Syphilis was also called the great imitator because it, too, is a spirochete, and symptoms manifested in countless different ways. Lyme spirochetes have a hardier architecture, however, and are more difficult to eradicate.

If Lyme is not treated aggressively, immediately after the initial infection, it can become chronic and persistent. In the 1980s, Dr. Alan McDonald studied the brains of deceased diagnosed Alzheimer’s patients. He found Lyme in seven out of 10 autopsy samples. This raises a question: How many cases of Alzheimer’s are misdiagnosed cases of chronic Lyme?

Buhner points out that Lyme often heads initially for the joints. How many cases of rheumatoid arthritis are misdiagnosed cases of chronic Lyme? Many Lyme patients report overwhelming weakness and depression, for example, and this causes many practitioners to erroneously refer these people to psychiatric therapists.

Ticks transmit bacteria other than Lyme, and many Lyme patients test positive for one or more of these co-infections. The most common are Babesia, Ehrlichia, Bartonella, and toxoplasmosis. The co-infections can create symptoms worse than Lyme. Babesia, for example, can wipe out red blood cells. One woman infected with Babesia and toxoplasmosis had more than 100 blood transfusions before these co-infections were detected and eradicated.

At a Valley Lyme support group meeting, one hears firsthand the stories of the afflicted. One woman was having what she called “seizures” and was in the hospital almost every other day. Others reported that they walked around with notebooks to jot down important events of the day, because they would not remember them later; they called this “Lyme brain.”

One man, with tears rolling down his face, recounted how his mother likely was infected by multiple tick bites because she had helped her family butcher deer after hunting trips. She was so ill and became so depressed that she drank herself to death. The accurate diagnosis of Lyme came much too late.

The most common complaint lodged at support group meetings is that too many doctors dismiss legitimate symptoms as “it is all in your head” or give a misdiagnosis. How can you find out if you have chronic, persistent Lyme? Find a practitioner familiar with Lyme and its co-infections who will work with you in an in-depth manner.

 

Brenda Haas-Krieger, M.S., D.D., has a master’s in environmental health from the College of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati. She works with BeamRay frequencies based on Dr. Rife’s work and SCIO (formerly QXCI). 480-314-0065, brenda@innerfocus.net or www.innerfocus.net.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number  4, Aug/Sept 2009.

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