Many people find doctor’s visits quite stressful, especially if they do not know what is wrong. Medical tests are uncomfortable, and most people feel anxious about receiving their results. If a doctor discovers evidence of a severe ailment, it changes a patient’s life forever.
Even with all available technology and testing, doctors still make mistakes. Doctors misdiagnose some diseases more often than others. Pennsylvania families dealing with these illnesses may want to consider a second opinion.
7 ailments that challenge doctors
Seven different ailments top the list of most commonly misdiagnosed conditions. Pennsylvanians with these ailments may want to consider a second opinion:
- Lupus: Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that primarily affects women between ages 15 and 45. Over 90% of those diagnosed with lupus are female. Symptoms include fatigue, damage to the kidneys or lungs and joint pain. Ailments often mistaken for lupus include fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Parkinson’s disease: Estimated to affect 1% of people over age 60, doctors cannot identify Parkinson’s with lab tests. With only clinical testing to rely on, ailments like Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, brain injury or even stress can present as Parkinson’s.
- Fibromyalgia: An arthritis-like ailment signified by body-wide pain, fibromyalgia is one of the most mysterious diseases in the medical community. Doctors rely on two conditions for diagnoses: patients who report more than three months of widespread pain and 11 extraordinarily sensitive points on the body. Doctors sometimes misdiagnose fibromyalgia as rheumatoid arthritis or chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Lyme disease: Incurred from a tick bite, doctors can identify this disease by a rash around the bite location. Doctors may misdiagnose lupus as mononucleosis, the flu, or even meningitis due to the other symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS): The muscle spasms and lack of coordination are the hallmarks of this autoimmune disease’s impact on the central nervous system. Blood tests do not identify MS but can rule out other conditions, including lupus or Alzheimer’s.
- Celiac disease: This disease impairs one’s ability to process gluten, a protein in bread products. Approximately 10% of people with celiac disease test negative, leading doctors to misdiagnose it as cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS): A very complex disorder with varying symptoms, doctors diagnose CFS by ruling out other ailments. Doctors can read this syndrome as hepatitis, lupus, fibromyalgia, and more.
Legal counsel may help
Pennsylvania residents who believe they received a misdiagnosis should seek a second opinion immediately, as improper treatment can result in further damage. Those with questions about a potential malpractice case can find answers with a local attorney familiar with malpractice law.