Lyme Disease: The Great Imitator

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease? Rash, fever, chills, achy joints, neurological disorders, heart problems, flu-like symptoms. They can be vague and they can be all over the place. This has been a recurrent problem in diagnosis. Lyme disease looks like everything else. Or does everything else look like Lyme disease?

A Tale of Two Illnesses

The story of Jo Ann Simon’s husband, as she told it on, is a very enlightening but sad example of how difficult it can be to tell the difference between Lyme and other illnesses. In this case, it was ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Unlike other stories where a patient was diagnosed and treated for several other illnesses before they tested for Lyme and found it, Simon was misdiagnosed with Lyme and passed away from ALSthree years later.

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria transmitted to humans by a tick. It is known to cause severe joint aches and pains. ALS is a progressive disease in which the nerves that signal the muscles degenerate. These two can look and feel the same. They affect the same areas and have the same symptoms.

Simon tested positive for Lyme before and after his ALS diagnosis. This poses the question, is the Lyme imitating ALS or is ALS somehow connected to Lyme? In this article, Jo Ann Simon apparently believes the latter and not without reason. Besides the commonalities, studies have shown that a high percentage of those with ALS test positive for Lyme. Lou Gehrig actually lived right outside of Lyme Connecticut where the disease was born. Past patients diagnosed with ALS have actually been found to have Lyme instead. There does seem to be some kind of connection here.

How Do We Use This information?

There is no proof out there that Lyme and ALS are truly connected, however, there is no doubt that Lyme is a complicated disease and this story is added proof. The takeaway is protection. Over and over we preach it. Protecting yourself from tick bites is the best way to truly lower your risk for Lyme.

  • Wear the protective gear. 
  • Spray your clothes with permethrin. 
  • Use the repellent that contains DEET. 
  • Check for ticks when you get home and double check.

After you’ve done all that, let the tick control professionals take over when you’re at home. Mosquito Squad of the Twin Cities can eliminate 85-90% of adult ticks in your yard with our barrier treatment and then can start to eliminate next year’s ticks with our tick tube system. We have to fight Lyme by fighting the ticks. Call us today.