When speaking with children who are chronically ill, it can be difficult to understand what is causing their symptoms. Children, naturally, might not know how to accurately describe their pains or illness. When there are multiple symptoms, it can be even more challenging as they grow and change so quickly. For children with autism or other language disorder, they may be limited or unable to communicate why they feel the way they feel. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Lyme disease are examples of what seem to be entirely different diseases, but they share an overlap of symptoms. While autism is usually seen as a developmental disorder and Lyme disease and infectious disease, the two have more in common than you might think. There are interesting connections between the two, especially when diagnosed in children.
Symptoms shared by both Autism and Lyme:
- Neurological symptoms that include difficulty with communication and confusion, disorientation, muscle twitching, sensitivity to light, brain fog, and delayed development.
- Psychological problems that impact behaviors, obsessive-compulsive disorder, an increased sense of doom, anxiety and outbursts.
- Physical health issues such as muscle weakness, arthritis, and rashes.
- Gut health issues including food allergies, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
These symptoms are common features of autism and Lyme disease. Coincidentally, many of these symptoms are also displayed in auto-immune disorders. Tests for Lyme can be misleading, as they have a poor accuracy. A specialist is always needed in order to get a better sense of other treatment options because both autism and Lyme can have long-term issues. However, there are treatments that benefit Lyme and autism alike. Focusing on gut health has been an important part of treatment for both conditions. This is because we are seeing the benefits of specific diets in patients with autism and/or Lyme. Nutritional support strengthens the integrity of the intestinal membranes, balances the billions of bacteria in our gut and improves digestion and elimination. All of this help support the immune function of the gut, which ultimately affects brain function. An effective nutritional protocol would support the immune system, reduce symptoms, calm the nervous system and strengthen the body’s ability to fight infections. Autoimmune conditions such as autism and Lyme disease benefit greatly from proper diet and lifestyle modifications. Removing casein, dairy, sugar, processed foods and gluten from the diet will allow the body to heal and aid in the detoxification process, naturally. Reducing environmental factors like external and emotional stressors are extremely important for both Lyme and ASD. Stress responses increase the load on the immune & nervous system, which can lead to exhaustion and further relapse into symptoms. Identifying these triggers help you to work around them and eventually train your nervous system to create new patterns and get rid of the old ones. Autoimmune conditions have very unique impacts on the immune system, especially Lyme and autism. Consider speaking to a specialist about your symptoms, especially if they mimic other autoimmune conditions. And never be afraid to get a second or even third opinion, as it may be necessary in order to get to the root of problem.