If you may have ALS, you may want to consider Lyme disease as a possibility. Lyme disease is a multi-system bacterial infection caused from the bite of an infected tick. Lyme disease is the second fastest growing infectious disease in the US after AIDS, and it is the number one vector borne disease. It is in every state, yet little is being done to educate the public and medical community. It can cause many seemingly unrelated symptoms.
Below is a Lyme symptom list. You can have any combination of symptoms.
Unexplained fevers, sweats, chills, or flushing
Unexplained weight change--loss or gain
Fatigue, tiredness, poor stamina
Unexplained hair loss
Testicular pain/pelvic pain
Unexplained menstrual irregularity
Unexplained milk production: breast pain
Irritable bladder or bladder dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction or loss of libido
Change in bowel function-constipation, diarrhea
Chest pain or rib soreness
Shortness of breath, cough
Heart palpitations, pulse skips, heart block
Any history of a heart murmur or valve prolapse?
Joint pain or swelling
Stiffness of the joints, neck, or back
Muscle pain or cramps
Twitching of the face or other muscles
Neck creeks and cracks, neck stiffness, neck pain
Tingling, numbness, burning or stabbing sensations, shooting pains
Facial paralysis (Bell's Palsy)
Eyes/Vision: double, blurry, increased floaters, light sensitivity
Ears/Hearing: buzzing, ringing, ear pain, sound sensitivity
lncreased motion sickness, vertigo, poor balance
Confusion, difficulty in thinking
Difficulty with concentration, reading
Forgetfulness, poor short term memory
Disorientation: getting lost, going to wrong places
Difficulty with speech or writing
Mood swings, irritability, depression
Disturbed sleep-too much, too little, early awakening
Exaggerated symptoms or worse hangover from alcohol
No Lyme test is completely reliable and results can vary by lab. It is my understanding the ELISA or titer is the least reliable and the one most doctors run first. It is important to be tested by a Lyme lab such as IgeneX in Palo Alto, CA.
It is very important to see a knowledgeable doctor. Many doctors do not understand Lyme and treat with outdated protocols. Besides Lyme, ticks can transmit several co-infections including Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis (HME & HGE), Bartonella, and Mycoplasma. It is estimated that 60% of people who have Lyme are co-infected. It may affect treatment choice and progress. It is important to be tested for these by a Lyme reputable lab also.
Lyme disease is known as the great imitator. Many people who have Lyme were fist diagnosed with other diseases including MS, ALS, CFS, and Fibromyalgia. There was an article in People magazine a couple of years ago about a man in Pennsylvania who was diagnosed with ALS, and he found out he has Lyme.
For some reason, tick-borne infections are often not considered as a possible diagnosis. I have been very debilitated from five tickborne diseases, and I am still being treated. I was seeing doctors for months, going through extensive testing, and tickborne infections were never considered a possibility. A nurse mentioned to me that she thought I might have these diseases, and she saved my life.
For more information on Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections, please read the post "Lyme Disease Information" on the Lyme disease board on this site at Some Lyme Disease Information
If you need a doctor recommendation, let us know.
If you think this is a possibility, I recommend reading Dr. Joseph Burrascano's 2005 Diagnostic Hints and Treatment Guidelines For Lyme and Other Tick Borne Illnesses (on-line) and the book
"Everything You Need To Know About Lyme Disease (2nd edition)" by Karen Vanderhoof-Forschner.
My heart goes out to all who are suffering from debilitating symptoms.