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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Lyme disease vs. multiple sclerosis (MS): Differences in symptoms, causes, and treatment


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By: Emily Lunardo | Brain Function | Friday, April 29, 2016

It’s important to do a comparison of Lyme disease vs. multiple sclerosis (MS) as the two do have much in common. At the same time, they both have their own unique differences that distinguish one from another.
Lyme disease is caused by a bite from a deer tick or black-legged tick, which transfer Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. The longer a tick is attached to you, the higher your risk of developing Lyme disease is.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the myelin, a protective coating around the nerves and spinal cord. As myelin deteriorates, it damages the nerves and spinal cord, thus causing the MS symptoms.
Lyme disease may present itself like multiple sclerosis, but there are distinctive differences, which we will outline to help you decipher between the two.

Lyme disease and MS: Often confused

In order to get a definite diagnosis of either Lyme disease or multiple sclerosis, doctors will have to conduct several tests, including blood tests, to confirm diagnosis of either one. Symptoms alone may be quite confusing.
Although it is unlikely that a patient has both Lyme disease and MS, the possibility is still there. Lyme disease symptoms may appear like multiple sclerosis, causing confusion at first. It is only with an MRI scan and spinal tap that the doctors can confirm or deny a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

Lyme disease vs. MS: U.S. prevalence

multiple sclerosisMajority of MS patients are diagnosed between the ages of 20 to 40, but it can develop at any age. There are over 400,000 cases of multiple sclerosis in the U.S., with women accounting for the majority of cases. Each week, there are an additional 200 cases of multiple sclerosis diagnosed in America.
There are roughly 30,000 Lyme disease cases reported annually, but it’s not an accurate reflection of how many cases actually occur, as these are incidences only reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In order to improve data collection on Lyme disease, the CDC has set out two different studies known as Project 1 and Project 2. Project 1 estimated 228,000 cases of Lyme disease through laboratory testing, and Project 2 estimated 329,000 cases of Lyme disease based on claims from medical insurance databases.

Lyme disease vs. MS: Signs and symptoms

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