Dr. Kyle Warren, DC, CMFP explains...

We undoubtedly know that Lyme disease is extremely common in Minnesota.  Minnesota is the #5 state in the country, Wisconsin is #4 so if we’re here, we know we're dealing with Lyme disease on a semi-frequent basis. 300,000- 400,000 cases per year in The US, and when you look at the data, that means 40,000ish in MN... 45,000-50,000 in WI, and if you think 10-20% of these are going chronic, we’ll say 8,000 cases a year, every year in MN that’s adding to this mysterious Lyme disease problematic population.  And this has been going on for years, which means we have 50,000-100,000 different Minnesotans suffering with this. So, I will tell people if you are mysteriously sick and don’t know the cause…We’re in Minnesota, it’s on the table!

Somewhere between 20-50% of people get a (bullseye) rash, which means 80-50% of people don’t get the rash so we tell people the rash is awesome because if you get the rash you kind of know, oh, this is (Lyme), slam dunk it home…there is a huge portion of people that don’t get the rash that have this problem.  


The big MN co-infections are Babesia, which is very famous, people talk about Babesia, Bartonella, and Borrelia, Borrelia is Lyme, “Bardy” is Bartonella, you know, we get these affectionate names… but actually the #1 co-infection in Minnesota is Anaplasmosis, and I talk to doctors about this and they go “What?! Anaplas-what?? And this is very mysterious to doctors because it causes low white blood cells and an acute infection, it causes a slight elevation in liver enzymes not a crazy elevation, but a slight elevation, usually it stays under 200.  So what I get is I’ll catch people who have been chronically sick and they say “Yeah when I got sick I went into the doctor.”  “Okay did they run some tests?”  “Yeah, and they didn’t know what was wrong because my white blood cells were low and said I was all fine.”  “Were they worried about your liver?”  “THEY WERE WORRIED ABOUT MY LIVER! But that got better…in a couple weeks to a month.”  “Okay, has it sporadically popped up in the last five years, every once in awhile?”  “It has, but it always goes back to normal.”  I go…”okay, that’s Anaplasmosis.” 

We are the #5 state in the nation, Wisconsin is #3 for Anaplasmosis, Maine snuck in there, Maine is #4…and this is a disease that is weird because it causes slight elevations of liver enzymes, low white blood cells, doctors are very confused by it, no one tests for it. So one of the secrets in my office is I run an Anaplasmosis test…it’s not expensive, maybe $90-$100 something like that, and we find a lot of people who have Anaplasmosis, because the standard testing is you run Lyme and if that’s negative…you run Nothing else!!

Now in MN I really think you should run Lyme with at least Babesia and Anaplasma because those are the two most common…at a minimum!  We do find people who are negative on Lyme and are positive on Anaplasmosis! Over two-thirds of our patients if this is on the table have never even had it mentioned! So, all I do is I bring up the maps, I mention the numbers and I go… “We should look at this, this is really a possibility of what may be causing your problem.

One of the questions that we get often on Trailhead Health is “I’ve had arthritis, I’ve never been tested for Lyme…should I be tested for Lyme?”

Absolutely.  The symptoms for Lyme that we really see are prevalent, is it Causes Pain; it frequently causes Pain! That can be headaches/migraines, that can be arthritis-type joint pain, it can be muscle pain. Probably ¾ of the time…it causes pain. 

The other big symptom; it causes fatigue and/or chronic fatigue.  If you have both fibromyalgia & fatigue syndrome, it’s way high on the list

The third symptoms it causes frequently are the neurological symptoms, so we get anxiety, depression, we get POTS we get very abnormal neurological sensations...and Dr. Paul can talk more about that.  But if we see neurological symptoms/brain fog, with pain and fatigue those are the big things in my brain that start to light up of “Is this a Lyme patient in front of me…it at least has to be considered.”  And we’ve had other people that have been told “Well, you’re just going to have to hurt.”  And we’ve found, that No, [the pain] is just coming from Lyme!