Understanding Lyme and Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the Myelin covering the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. The myelin in the Brain and spinal cord is made by cells called oligodendrocytes and in the peripheral nerves by Schwann cells.
Multiple sclerosis can develop after exposure to Lyme disease, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), Chlamydia, STD's, other parasitic infestations, as well as environmental toxins (like heavy metal or pesticide toxicity) and even foods (like gluten).
The body then incorrectly directs antibodies and white blood cells against the myelin sheath, which surrounds nerves in the brain and spinal cord. This causes inflammation and injury to the myelin-sheath. This damage results in multiple areas of scarring (sclerosis). Eventually, this damage can slow or block the nerve signals that control muscle coordination, strength, sensation and vision. This damage can be visualized by a M.R.I. scan as multiple white spots in the brain.
It is important to note that MS is a diagnosis based on MRI/CT findings along with the usual neurological symptom patterns that accompany it. The CAUSE of MS is rarely investigated and this leaves the patient believing there is nothing they can do. This is a LIE! Cause can always be found with appropriate testing and help can be addressed towards that cause. Stage 3 Lyme is often (but not always) a causative factor in MS.
Different Types of MS
- Relapsing remitting type of MS is seen in 90% of the cases characterized by relapses (disease flare-ups), followed by periods of remission. This is the most common type. I have seen many cases where the patient was labeled as progressive MS only to find they had clear history of remissions and relapses.
- Primary progressive form of MS, which shows a gradual decline, without periods of remission. People with this form of MS are usually older than 40 when symptoms begin.
- Secondary progressive. About half the people with relapsing remitting MS eventually enter a stage of continuous deterioration referred to as secondary progressive MS.
- Progressive M.S. Not a good medical prognosis as the disease progresses rapidly.
Symptoms of MS
- Numbness or weakness which typically occurs on one side of the body.
- Double vision, blurring of vision or sudden loss of vision (optic neuritis).
- Tingling numbness or pain one half of the body.
- Electric-shock sensations that occur with certain head movements
- Tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait and weakness.
- Fatigue specially after exposure to heat, or exercise.
- Dizziness or feeling of spinning.