Lyme Disease: “The Great Imitator”

Diagnosis of Lyme disease is complicated because symptoms can be vague and take months or years to develop

Particular difficulty arises when there is no bull’s eye rash, which is the case in about 50-70% of cases and presenting symptoms are vague and/or take months or even years after the exposure to develop. These can include fatigue, muscle aches, fevers, and neurological problems including facial nerve paralysis, radiating nerve pain, pins and needles sensation, numbness, and weakness.

Late Lyme disease, which usually appears months to years after exposure and occurs in about 60% of untreated patients, can include intermittent or persistent arthritis, “migrating” nerve and joint pain that moves around, a wide range of neurological problems.

Lyme disease is known as “The Great Imitator” because its symptoms can mirror many other conditions.

Diagnoses that can mimic or be triggered by chronic Lyme disease include:

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica
  • Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome
  • Chemical Sensitivity
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Autism
  • Any mental health presentation
  • Fungal Hypersensitivities
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Hashimoto’s, Grave’s Disease
  • Hypothyroid
  • Adrenal Insufficiency
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Menopause and other hormone transitions


Dr. Marian is Holistique Medical Center’s associate naturopathic physician. She is passionate about identifying and treating the root cause of complex chronic illnesses. She believes everyone deserves to live each day as the most vibrant and authentic version of themselves, and only by addressing the root cause of illness can true symptom relief be obtained. Dr. Marian received her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. In addition to the core naturopathic curriculum, she completed advanced training in pediatrics, gynecology, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, detoxification, genomic medicine, IV therapy, and neural therapy. Prior to her doctoral studies at Bastyr University, Dr. Marian received a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering as well as a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Washington. Maria also has five years of experience in biomedical and engineering research. She enjoys attending conferences and seminars regularly to stay absolutely current in her areas of specialty. As a research technician at Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, a non-profit international leader in immune system and autoimmune disease research, Dr. Marian contributed to important research in characterizing the underlying pathology of a rare condition of accelerated aging in children. Dr. Marian’s passion for understanding the human body fuels her clinical work, and in turn, her clinical work inspires her dedication to lifelong learning.