Ideally, you have the peace of mind of knowing that your doctor’s diagnosis is 100 percent accurate. But even after years of med school and with a successful practice, health practitioners sometimes make mistakes. Five ailments and diseases in particular are often overlooked or misdiagnosed.
5 Lyme Disease
Getting a bite from an infected deer tick can leave you with Lyme disease. When this happens, you may experience soreness in your ribs, have a hard time catching your breath, suffer from belly cramps and throw up profusely. A doctor may diagnose you with the flu, meningitis, fibromyalgia, depression or mononucleosis, a.k.a “mono,” the kissing disease. The true sign that you may have Lyme disease, however, is a bull’s-eye type rash right where you were bit. Check for one, then double-check your physician’s diagnosis.
When you think of a stroke, you may imagine one side of your body quickly going limp and maybe some twitching, too. The symptoms of a stroke aren’t always so obvious, though. You may experience a headache, feel dizzy, find that your vision is blurry, feel some numbness or tingling along one side of your body, or have trouble maintaining your balance. After listening to your complaints, your doctor might pat you on the back and diagnose you with vertigo, an inner-ear problem or migraines, then send you on your way. If symptoms last for more than an hour or if you have a combination of everything above, get someone to drive you to the emergency room, pronto! You could be having a stroke.
3 Celiac Disease
Chronic diarrhea, stomach cramps and bloating after eating may lead to a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease or cystic fibrosis. Another condition that shares these symptoms is celiac disease. When you have celiac, your body lacks the enzyme that breaks down gluten—a type of protein in wheat, barley, rye and foods that come into contact with these grains. A proper diagnosis requires a blood test to check for certain antibodies or a biopsy of your intestines. If you suspect you have celiac, eliminate gluten-based foods from your diet before going in for costly medical tests. You might feel better right away.
2 Coronary Artery Disease
If you walk into an appointment explaining how you’ve had a hard time breathing and a constant shortness of breath, your physician may raise an eyebrow and tell you to exercise and lose weight. Symptoms of coronary artery disease, however, can also make it difficult to breathe. This happens when arteries are clogged up and full of plaque, and red blood cells aren’t able to carry around oxygen efficiently. If you get that “you’re overweight” lecture from your doc, ask him to run labs, order an electrocardiogram or conduct a stress test to ensure that your heart is in tip-top shape.
Fatigue, joint pain and rashes on your skin are some warning signs of lupus. Clearly, these symptoms can mimic a number of other ailments, however, such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome. The difference with lupus is that it is a type of chronic inflammatory disease that leads to kidney, heart and lung damage over time. Unless your physician checks your blood for anemia and a low white blood cell count, orders a chest C-ray and follows through with a specialized lupus erythematosus cell test, he could miss what’s really going on.