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Misdiagnosed autoimmune diseases

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Autoimmune diseases are considered chronic diseases and this classification means that a diagnosis is taken as valid and not revised. But other possibilities should always be considered.

The incorrect diagnosis of autoimmune diseases The main consequence is that the treatment applied is not effective for the patient's real ailment. Some infectious diseases have common symptoms with autoimmune diseases. which can lead to confusion if a causal diagnosis of the disease is not made.

One of the most frequently under-diagnosed diseases by the resemble different autoimmune diseases, it is the Lyme disease. But not only that, the disease itself affects the immune system in such a way that it can influence the patient's immune response and thus trigger an autoimmune pathology.

What is Lyme disease?

This pathology is a bacterial infection caused by a tick bite. The first symptoms are rash, fever, headache and tiredness. If treated immediately, it can be overcome with antibiotics within a few days. Otherwise, the infection affects vital organs and leads to more severe symptoms, leading to the so-called multi-systemic multi-infection syndrome. 

Why is she called "the great imitator"?

Because it mimics the symptoms of autoimmune diseases by affecting the heart, joints and nervous system. This is when the symptoms cause facial paralysis, inflammation of the spinal cord, rheumatic complaints (especially arthritis), heart rhythm disturbances, severe pain and general joint numbness.

Such a symptomatology causes doctors to call the chronicity of this disease as a multi-systemic multi-infection syndrome. Gradually, organs begin to fail and, if neither the patient nor the doctor knows that a tick is causing the problem, the treatments applied will not be effective.

But the Lyme disease is not the only one whose diagnosis may be wrong. Arthritis, for example, may be diagnosed as psoriatic arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease or palindromic rheumatism.among others.

Lyme borriellosis and its impact on the patient's immune response

Borrelia bugdorferi is the bacterium that produces the initial infection that eventually leads to damage to the immune system. They cause other autoimmune diseases such as:

- Lymphoma (intracranial involving the nervous system).
- Lupus.
- Chronic encephalopathy.
- Granulomatous hepatitis.
- A distal axonal polyneuropathy.
Other diseases such as autism, Horner's syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and dementia.

Why does the misdiagnosis occur?

We can say that there are several reasons why a disease is misdiagnosed. On the one hand because of the way doctors think, and on the other hand because of the way they think. lack of breadth of vision of the disease. On the other hand, because do not know about Lme disease. In addition, sometimes the result of a test is not enough and the patient's clinical history and evolution must be taken into account.

In the case of borrelia infection, in addition, the evolution of the disease itself is altering the whole organism and new symptoms and ailments are appearing.

The clearest sign of early Lyme, skin changes, disappear in about 15 days. Most symptoms affecting the joints can take months or years to appear.. The progressive worsening of the patient, and his inability to connect the bite with what is happening to him, leads to insufficient diagnostic tests.

How should you react if you find yourself in this situation?

At Biosalud Day Hospital we believe that more training and outreach should be done on the Lyme disease. If we don't know it exists, we won't look for it and we won't be able to rule it out when making a diagnosis.

It is important to know that the bacterium that causes Lyme disease causes the autoimmune diseases mentioned above. If you notice that the treatment you have been prescribed does not help you get better and that you are gradually getting worse and worsedo not hesitate to opt for a specific analysis. like the Lymecheck that allows you to detect the presence of the bacteria that cause the ailment described above.

You should know that after the corresponding treatment, it is possible to eliminate the bacteria and only then will the treatment for the rest of your ailments take effect.. So, whether it is to rule out a possibility or to find a new alternative to cure you, the analysis remains, until now, the definitive diagnostic test to start the corresponding treatment.

Can you prevent Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne infection. While there are no guidelines that can fully guarantee that we can stay away from contracting disease, we can reduce the likelihood with preventive measures.

On other occasions we have described the steps we can take when we are going to expose ourselves to a risky situation, such as a walk in the countryside.

From this blog of Biosalud Day Hospital we regularly report about important aspects related to Lyme disease and we have developed informative materials such as "The Adventures of Dr. Lymevsky". so that children are already aware of this disease and can detect it in time.

If you have one, use tweezers to remove it and save it so that the doctor can analyse it and come to a more reliable conclusion. It is common for a part of the insect to remain on your skin and fall off over time. Apply alcohol to the area to disinfect it properly.

Thus, the correct diagnosis of Lyme disease depends on remembering whether you may have come into contact with a tick and having the specific diagnostic test. I am sure that with the information we have just given you, you will find it easier to help your doctor find an effective solution to improve your condition.

Mariano Bueno

Dr. Mariano Bueno and his team

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