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A 39 year old man, who 8 months ago was in peak physical condition is now so weak he cannot walk, talk or take care of himself, and spends thousands of dollars each month to treat his condition. Unfortunately his diagnosis is baffling doctors, with a dual diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gerhig's disease) and Lyme disease. The neuromuscular disease, ALS, first caused him to feel lethargic and have hot flushes, then it attacked his motor function limb by limb, with paralysis starting in the hand, later including foot drop, general loss of function and upper torso pain. An MRI of his spine revelled spinal scarring, causing back stiffness. Through internet research, the man discovered another gent with a similar story who was diagnosed with Lyme disease, was being treated for the condition, and had subsequently recovered all of his muscle function. ALS is not treatable, by Lyme disease is. Lyme disease is a bacterial disease transmitted by the bite of a tick. However, Lyme disease is commonly misdiagnosed as other diseases, and vice versa, e.g. fibromuscular disease, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Other symptoms of Lyme disease include joint pain, mental dysfunction, paralysis of the facial muscles, extreme tiredness, and flu-type symptoms. Methods to avoid tick bites are to wear appropriate clothing when outdoors, avoid potential tick infested areas, use insect repellents. If bitten, remove the tick with tweezers directly near the head, wash the site thoroughly with disinfectant and preserve the tick in case of future illness.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by The Herald-Dispatch
About: Lou Gerhig's disease or Lyme disease?
Date: 10 July 2005
Source: The Herald-Dispatch
Author: Jean Tarbett
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