Why does having Lyme make you autoimmune? Autoimmune problems come with the Lyme-package because the body mistakes itself as the pathogen and begins attacking itself. Lyme can mimic many autoimmune diseases. Common ones are lupus, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and MS.
There are subtle ways to differentiate Lyme from other autoimmune disease. Some are provided in this article.
Lupus and Lyme
•Lyme can look like Lupus due to the presence of antibodies such as antiphospholipids and anticardiolipins.
•To tell Lyme from Lupus, do a double-stranded DNA test (dsDNA), which is 98 percent specific to lupus. The butterfly rash on the face is also lupus-specific.
Rheumatoid arthritis and Lyme
•Lyme can look like RA due to the positive ANAs and rheumatoid factors.
•To differentiate Lyme from RA, test for anti-CCP antibodies, which are more specific to RA.
Plaquenil works for Lyme, Lupus and RA
•All of these diseases respond well to Plaquenil, because it modulates immunity as well as inhibiting DNA gyrase, an enzyme that allows bacteria to multiply.
MS and Lyme
•MS erodes the myelin sheath surrounding the nerves, which affects the conduction of electrical impulses. It creates white matter in the brain and the optic nerve (eyes). It cause numbness, discoordination, speech impairments, and periods of relapse and remission.
•The cause of MS is unknown, although it could be caused by an infection, environmental factors like vitamin D deficiency, or genetic factors.
•MS can be diagnosed with an MRI of the brain and spinal cord, a VEP eye test, an AEP ear test, and a test to see if there are increased markers in the spinal fluid such as MBP or oligoclonal bands.
•It is hard to tell Lyme and MS apart. The main difference is that MS creates more white matter and more myelin basic protein and oligoclonal bands. MS also causes demyelinating lesions in the cervical or thoracic spine, whereas Lyme does not.