Lyme disease has been called “The Great Imitator” because its symptoms are so diverse & can mimic other diseases. As an example, Kris Kristofferson was initially diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s disease. His symptoms of progressive memory loss matched this diagnosis. It turned out that he was positive for Lyme disease. With treatment focused on Lyme disease, his symptoms began to change within weeks. Click here for more details on his diagnosis & recovery.
Lyme disease was first recognized in the mid 1970’s when a group of children & adults from Lyme, Connecticut began experiencing inflammatory arthritis. Because of this, most people think of Lyme disease as a disease primarily involving the joints.
We now know that the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia, is also a nervous system infection. As the Kris Kristofferson story illustrates, we have been missing a larger group of people who have symptoms that involve the brain and nervous system.
Because there is such a variety of symptoms associated with this infection (not to mention the symptoms of the common co-infections), it can get a little murky when using symptoms to decide which, if any, infections are present.
For instance, people with Babesia infections often sleep in excess of 9 hours per day without feeling recovered. But Bartonella infections often cause an issue with insomnia. What if one has an infection with both of these bugs? It becomes difficult to determine by simply symptoms alone.
Dr. Richard Horowitz, a pioneer in the field of Lyme disease identification & treatment, has proposed a new name for the illnesses that are associated with Lyme & its co-infections called Multiple Systemic Infection Disease Syndrome (MSIDS). He has also developed a questionnaire that is purported to be correlated to the presence of Lyme disease & its co-infections by 88%. It is called the Horowitz MSIDS Questionnaire.
If you score greater than 21 on this questionnaire, it becomes more likely that you have a ‘tick-borne infection’. This means one or more of the bugs we’ve discussed in these blogs could be present. The next step would be to get some lab testing. More on testing in the next blog, coming this month.
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About Dr. Shaun Riddle, ND
Dr. Shaun Riddle completed his naturopathic medical training at Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. He has been practicing naturopathic medicine since 2004. While Dr. Riddle sees patients with a variety of chronic illnesses, he has a special interest in chronic infections and how they relate to autoimmune disease, digestive disease, neurologic disorders as well as chronic pain. He completed the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS) Physician Training Program to learn the leading-edge assessment and treatment strategies being employed for chronic infections. Dr. Riddle works with patients to knock out infections while simultaneously correcting the underlying terrain issues that are preventing the body from recovering from illness. Prior to attending naturopathic medical school, Dr. Riddle completed a master’s degree in teaching in addition to an undergraduate degree in biology.