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Misdiagnosis

misdiagnosis

When you’ve been suffering from any type of ailment, the best thing you can do is consult a knowledgeable physician. A professionally trained healthcare professional’s job is to diagnose the affliction and develop a course of action for remedying the condition. Most of us do not have medical degrees or expertise in the healthcare field and therefore are unaware of how to treat the disorders that may be plaguing us. We trust that our doctor is the expert in the matter and will provide us with the necessary guidance and offer viable solutions. Most of the time illnesses are correctly diagnosed and the correct treatment options are offered. However, sometimes misdiagnosis occurs because many illnesses have similar symptoms or can only be detected by specific tests that doctors might deem unnecessary or because physicians are uncertain of what’s causing the ailment. According to the Washington Post, “diagnoses that are missed, incorrect or delayed are believed to affect 10 to 20 percent of cases, far exceeding drug errors and surgery on the wrong patient or body part, both of which have received considerably more attention.”

So, what are the most commonly misdiagnosed illnesses? AARP.org lists the top three misdiagnosed conditions as:

  1. Lupus: A chronic inflammatory disease
    Symptoms: Fatigue; kidney, heart, and lung damage; rash; joint pain
    Mimics: Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis
  2. Parkinson's disease: A degenerative disorder of the central nervous system
    Symptoms: Tremors in hands, arms, legs, or head; stiff muscles; problems with balance or walking
    Mimics: Alzheimer's, stroke, stress, traumatic head injury, essential tremor
  3. Fibromyalgia: A chronic arthritis-like disorder characterized by widespread pain
    Symptoms: Anxiety or depression, increased sensitivity to pain, incapacitating fatigue
    Mimics: Rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome

Others include: Lyme disease (systemic infection caused by a tick bite), often misdiagnosed for the flu, fibromyalgia or meningitis; multiple sclerosis (progressive autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system), often misdiagnosed for Alzheimer’s or lupus; Celiac disease (autoimmune disorder marked by an inability to digest gluten),misdiagnosed for Crohn’s disease and cystic fibrosis; and chronic fatigue syndrome (complex disorder with a combination of symptoms of unknown cause), which is often misdiagnosed for hepatitis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Although there’s no sure-fire way to prevent yourself from being misdiagnosed, you can take several actions in order to lessen the chances of a misdiagnosis. First of all, you should ask lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to pepper your healthcare professional with tons of questions. After all, it’s YOUR body, YOUR health – and you have a right to know. Secondly, do some research of your own – don’t be afraid to be proactive. Research your symptoms and learn all you can about the illness you suspect you have. The more you research, the more questions you’ll have for your physician, which is a good thing! When talking with your doctor, be very specific about your symptoms. It may even help to keep a journal of your symptoms. Keep track of every symptom and note when, where and under what conditions they occurred. Additionally, get a second or even a third opinion. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for more tests.

Misdiagnosis is a very serious issue that can lead to incorrect or delayed treatment, resulting in a worsened condition, an increase in pain, deterioration and even death. If you feel you’ve been misdiagnosed and would like to discuss the possibility of filing a malpractice lawsuit, please speak with one of our experienced Miami medical misdiagnosis lawyers as soon as possible. We are here to help you, so call us today toll free at 877-448-8585 or fill out our online contact form.

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