It would be ideal if there were a go-to test for all medical conditions that doctors could perform to help them hone in on a patient’s diagnosis, but there isn’t. Doctors must take a thorough health history from the patient, perform a physical exam and carry out imaging or diagnostic studies to rule out some conditions before ultimately arriving at a viable diagnosis.
One complication that arises in doing this is that symptoms of a condition can vary from patient to patient. Some conditions can also be more challenging to diagnose than others.
Lupus is often misdiagnosed
Doctors often misdiagnose patients with lupus as having chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis instead. This often occurs because physicians fail to take X-rays or run the correct tests to diagnose this autoimmune disease properly.
Parkinson’s disease is also overlooked
Parkinson’s disease patients experience tremors in the hands, arms and legs, difficulties walking or issues with balance and stiff muscles. Doctors often see patients with these symptoms and conclude that they have a brain tumor or head trauma, that they’re suffering from a stroke, stress or Alzheimer’s disease. There aren’t currently any go-to tests to detect Parkinson’s. Doctors must rely on their clinical examination to determine if a patient suffers from this condition instead.
Fibromyalgia still gets ignored
Patients who have fibromyalgia often report suffering widespread pain and chronic arthritis, anxiety or depression, debilitating fatigue, and pain sensitivity. Unless doctors perform a physical exam to assess a patient’s 11 tender points, they may not fully grasp the extent of their pain sensitivity. A doctor’s failure to perform such an examination often results in patients being incorrectly diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis.
What to do if your doctor misdiagnosed you
Doctors regularly misdiagnose patients because they try to cut corners in performing the necessary assessments to render an appropriate diagnosis. Patients end up suffering health setbacks or long-term or life-threatening effects as a result of this. You may want to learn more about your rights if this happens to you or your loved one. Your choice to put your foot down can protect others from facing the same fate.