While the term “MS diseases” is not medically accurate, some may use it to refer to diseases similar to multiple sclerosis. This is a subject of great interest to many because it indicates that there is a range of circumstances in which misdiagnosis can occur. It can also be seen as suggesting that, while we tend to think of MS as a single disease that results from a definite pathway (which we are yet to fully understand), MS may result from a number of different of pathways. By this interpretation, MS would be better described as a syndrome than as a disease.


Diseases that Mimic Multiple Sclerosis


What are some examples of so-called MS diseases? One of these multiple sclerosis diseases is the notorious Lyme disease, a bacterial disease that can sometimes mimic MS in its presentation. If a patient is bitten by a tick and subsequently develops Lyme disease, the patient’s diagnosis is likely to be straightforward. This is especially the case if the characteristic Lyme disease bulls-eye rash is present, and if the patient lives in a region where wildlife and ticks abound and Lyme disease is endemic. Unfortunately, sometimes patients do not develop this bulls-eye rash. Instead, they may develop a mild rash, which could easily be mistaken for some other skin condition such as hives. In some cases, patients may not even notice a rash.

Additionally, wildlife and ticks are spreading far and wide beyond their traditional habitats. This has something to do with the changes in the weather patterns and the encroachment of human settlements on the creatures’ one-time habitats. Due to this migration, epidemiological patterns are changing. Thus, cases of Lyme disease are springing up in places where it was previously unknown. From the foregoing, it is clear that, when the markers that would typically guide doctors to diagnose Lyme disease are not present, it is easy for them to diagnose their patients as suffering from other illnesses. This is how some patients with Lyme disease end up being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Unfortunately, the diagnostic tests that distinguish MS from diseases similar to multiple sclerosis are not always accurate. This is why some patients, who actually have Lyme disease, get tested for Lyme disease and somehow manage to get negative results. Subsequently, these patients are declared to be suffering from MS, and then put on treatment for it. They get no relief from their symptoms because the medication simply isn’t addressing their real problem: a bacterial infection. These patients’ conditions continue to deteriorate as long as the misdiagnosis persists. To avoid this kind of scenario, patients are well advised to request the most accurate diagnostic tests available to them.