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Identifying Lyme Disease: “The Great Mimicker”

Reviewed by Dr. Wally Taylor of Forum Health Austin

Lyme disease is called the Great Mimicker because it mimics about 350 different disease conditions. Many times, people come into my office complaining of various symptoms like neck pain, seeing spots, difficulties with concentration, headaches, joint pain, etc. They explain they have been to many different doctors and all their test results have come back “normal.” But they know they are not feeling normal – something is wrong. They are given diagnosis such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue, but none of the treatments are working for them.   

Many Times, They Are Suffering From Lyme Disease

They either have never been tested for Lyme disease or the tests that have been done come back negative. There are no sure-proof tests for Lyme and we need to explore this further in order to determine what the root of their symptoms is related to. Once we find the root cause, effective treatment can begin and they can heal. Many times, even people who have been treated for Lyme previously are still ill, because the treatments they were given were not sufficient to suppress the bacteria adequately, or co-infections of Lyme that were never identified are causing the problems. 

Lyme is a complicated disease, and may cause any of the following symptoms:

  • Extreme fatigue 
  • Headaches 
  • Recurrent fevers, chills, night sweats 
  • Muscle and joint pain, often migratory 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Nervous system disorders 
  • Loss of feeling in extremities or numbness and tingling, tremors 
  • Light and sound sensitivity 
  • Eye pain or blurring 
  • Ear ringing, buzzing 
  • Feeling “off balance,” vertigo, lightheaded 
  • Heartburn, stomach pain, weight gain or loss, diarrhea or constipation 
  • Irritable bladder 
  • Cognitive impairments 
  • Anxiety, panic, mood disorders, OCD 
  • ADHD and ADD, declining school performance 

Seemingly unrelated symptoms may all be related to Lyme disease, and sometimes symptoms will flare every 4 weeks or so. It is very important to have a thorough evaluation by a Lyme-literate medical practitioner.