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WHAT IS RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LYME AND AUTOIMMUNITY?

Updated: May 27, 2022



Below entry is from Wikipedia on Lyme Disease:


Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is a vector-borne disease caused by the Borrelia bacterium, which is spread by ticks in the genus Ixodes. The most common sign of infection is an expanding red rash, known as erythema migrans, which appears at the site of the tick bite about a week afterwards. The rash is typically neither itchy nor painful. Approximately 70–80% of infected people develop a rash. Early diagnosis can be difficult. Other early symptoms may include fever, headaches and tiredness. If untreated, symptoms may include loss of the ability to move one or both sides of the face, joint pains, severe headaches with neck stiffness or heart palpitations. Months to years later repeated episodes of joint pain and swelling may occur.Occasionally shooting pains or tingling in the arms and legs may develop. Despite appropriate treatment about 10 to 20% of those affected develop joint pains, memory problems and tiredness for at least six months. [From Wikipedia]


It clearly states that Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia bacterium spread by ticks (genus Ixodes). So, it is an infectious disease caused by bacteria transmitted by ticks. While everyone agrees how the disease is caused, there are much still is unknown about optimal treatment and long-term outcome of Lyme disease.


In my early career, I have seen neurological complications of Lyme disease which can be devastating. Because early diagnosis IS difficult and initial treatment (doxycycline) is often not given long enough, patients can suffer the late disease consequences.


Exposure to the Borrelia bacterium during Lyme disease possibly causes a long-lived and damaging inflammatory response, a form of pathogen-induced autoimmune disease. The production of this reaction might be due to a form of molecular mimicry, where Borrelia avoids being killed by the immune system by resembling normal parts of the body's tissues. Chronic symptoms from an autoimmune reaction could explain why some symptoms persist even after the spirochetes have been eliminated from the body. [from Wikipedia]


This is the reason why treatment of post-infectious Lyme patients should be approached with autoimmune approach. There are several ways to achieve this including the use of low dose naltrexone, anti-autoimmune diet, and supplements. Because post-infectious Lyme condition is a chronic condition that is like an auto-immune condition, this is a condition I would treat in my practice. Having a membership based practice makes per month cost affordable and have services accessible.



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