15 diseases doctors often get wrong

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When you experience strange pains, mysterious digestive problems or other unexplained symptoms you would expect from a doctor’s visit would solve their health problems. But sometimes, doctors have so much trouble identifying certain disorders and conditions that their patients.

“Many of the symptoms are nonspecific and variable, depending on the person,” says Dr. David Fleming, president of the American College of Physicians and professor of medicine at the University of Missouri. “Besides that, many diagnostic tests are expensive and are not routinely done, and even then not always give us an answer in black and white.”

The following 15 conditions are very difficult to pinpoint.

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Irritable bowel syndrome

Some conditions are difficult to diagnose because it does not exist a real test to prove its existence; rather, they require a “diagnosis of elimination,” says Fleming, since doctors rule out all other possibilities. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a chronic disease that affects the large intestine and causes abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea and / or constipation -. is one of these cases

According to the diagnostic criteria, a patient must have symptoms for at least six months before the first being seen for a formal evaluation, and discomfort should be present at least three days to month in the last three months before being diagnosed with IBS.

Celiac disease

Both the confusion surrounding celiac disease – an immune reaction to gluten that causes inflammation in the small intestine – which takes the average patient six to 10 years of being diagnosed correctly. celiac disease, in theory, have digestive problems from eating gluten-containing foods such as wheat, barley and rye, but in reality, only half of those diagnosed with the disease have experienced diarrhea and weight loss.

Celiac disease can also cause itchy skin, headaches, joint pain, and acid reflux or heartburn, and it is too easy to blame these symptoms on other things. A blood test can diagnose celiac disease no matter what symptoms are present, and endoscopy can determine any damage that has been done to the small intestine.

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The fibromyalgia, which is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain implies “medically unexplained symptoms” – a term doctors use to describe the persistent complaints that seem to have an obvious physical cause. When doctors can not find a root cause for pain and chronic fatigue patient, who often settle in this diagnosis. This may involve seeing specialists and rule out other diseases, some of which prove equally difficult to diagnose, says Dr. Eugene Shapiro, Deputy Director of Medical Research at Yale University.

“Studies show that people with certain symptoms that a rheumatologist presented will be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but if the same patients to a gastroenterologist who will be diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome are presented. ”

Rheumatoid arthritis

unexplained aches and pains can also be caused by rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disorder. Unlike osteoarthritis (type “wear” that appears in the elderly), RA causes painful inflammation and swelling of the joints and can occur at any age.

“The early stages of RA may resemble many other conditions – sometimes it’s just a feeling of discomfort or stiffness in the joints, which could be caused by a lot of different things,” says Fleming . Blood tests can help detect the presence of inflammation in the body, he says, but an exact diagnosis of RA must also take into account the medical history of a patient and careful physical examination by a physician.

Multiple sclerosis

Another autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) occurs when the immune system attacks the nerve cells own body and interrupts communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Some of the first symptoms of MS are often numbness, weakness or tingling in one or more limbs, but that’s not always the case.

“Multiple sclerosis can be episodic; the disease waxes and wanes,” says Shapiro.

Depending on the number and location of lesions in the brain, he adds, signs and symptoms may be more or less severe in different people. Once a doctor makes MS suspects, however, a lumbar puncture or MRI can help confirm the diagnosis.

Lyme disease

probably know to look out for tick bites and revealing target rash that can form around them if a person is infected with the lyme disease. But not everyone is rash develops – and other symptoms of Lyme disease (such as fatigue, headaches, joint pain, and flu-like symptoms) can be easily mistaken for other conditions, says Shapiro


a blood test can check for Lyme disease antibodies in the blood, but they usually do not appear until a few weeks after infection and the test is very unreliable. It is important to remove the tick immediately and consult a doctor immediately. Quickly removing a tick can possibly prevent the transfer of harmful bacteria, and antibiotics for Lyme disease are most effective when administered immediately.


The most distinctive lupus sign – another chronic inflammatory disease – a rash shaped like a butterfly on the cheeks of a patient, but that is not present in all cases. For those who do not develop the rash, the diagnosis can be a long and difficult process, says Shapiro.

“Lupus can occur in different ways. Which can affect joints, kidneys, brain, skin and lungs, and can also mimic many different subjects”

No there is a way to diagnose lupus, but tests of blood and urine, along with a complete physical examination, are often involved. Treatment also depends on the individual patient’s signs and symptoms, and medications and doses may need to be adjusted as outbreaks of the disease and collapses.

Polycystic ovary syndrome

Irregular periods, unexplained weight gain, and difficulty getting pregnant may be symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a disorder hormone that affects women of reproductive age. Many women with this condition have also been enlarged ovaries with numerous small cysts, but not all people with PCOS have these enlarged ovaries, and not everyone with enlarged ovaries have polycystic ovary syndrome.

For a diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome, a woman also must be experiencing infrequent or prolonged periods or have high levels of male hormones, called androgens, in their blood. Excess androgens can cause abnormal hair growth on the face and body, but women of certain ethnic groups (such as northern Europe and Asia) may not show physical signs.


You might think that an inflamed appendix or explosion should be easy to identify, and often is typical appendicitis symptoms include nausea, pain and tenderness around the navel, and possibly a low-grade fever. But not always.

“Some people have an appendix pointing backwards instead of forwards in the body, so the symptoms present in a different location,” says Shapiro. “And sometimes people have pain, but then the appendix ruptures and pain is relieved by what I think are good.”

In this case, he says, intestinal fluids can seep into the abdominal cavity and cause a potentially fatal infection -. But it can take days or even weeks before these symptoms appear


Many perfectly healthy women to manage pain and menstrual discomfort, so it is not surprising that endometriosis is often misdiagnosed. However, women with endometriosis (in which uterine tissue grows outside the uterus) often complain of pelvic pain, cramping and heavy bleeding that is much worse than usual, and gets worse over time. A pelvic examination can sometimes detect endometrial tissue or cysts that have been caused by it. In other cases, an ultrasound or laparoscopy for a definitive diagnosis is required.


For many migraine sufferers, nothing could be more obvious than the severe headaches, which usually are characterized by intense throbbing or throbbing and may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting or sensitivity to light and sound. However, some people may have unknowingly migraines, says Fleming.

“Sometimes migraine symptoms can be very severe, where the patient can develop even paralysis, and sometimes can be very subtle,” he says. “Patients may feel dizzy or lightheaded or feel a vague discomfort in their heads, and often will be treated with medications that may not be appropriate for a real migraine.”

A neurologist should be able to rule out other possibilities, and make the correct diagnosis.

Cluster headaches

Another disorder headache that is often misunderstood, headaches cluster are extremely painful, but also very rare – that it affects less than 1 million Americans. Cluster headaches tend to occur together, often on the same day, and the last 30 minutes to three hours on average. Scientists are not sure why, but cluster headaches tend to occur when the seasons change. Because of this, they can sometimes be misdiagnosed as sinus headaches related to allergy.


Hypothyroidism (also known as underactive thyroid) is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces insufficient amounts of hormones that help regulate weight, energy and mood. In the early stages, the symptoms of thyroid problems are subtle and can include fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, muscle pain and impaired memory.

“You can mimic depression, fibromyalgia, and many other conditions,” says Shapiro.

And because hypothyroidism is more common in people (especially women) over 60 years, it is easy to attribute their symptoms simply getting older and more out of shape.


type 2 diabetes can not remain hidden forever; if left untreated, it can cause life-threatening damage to major organs of the body. Before signs of diabetes develop, says Fleming, adults may have diabetes for years without knowing it.

“There are a lot of people out there with high levels of blood sugar that are not regularly receiving the doctor, so not being reviewed by it,” he says. “They will not realize it until severe enough to start developing side effects such as problems with vision or numbness in the feet or hands.”

To avoid these problems, be aware of the above symptoms, such as increased thirst or hunger, frequent urination, sudden weight loss and fatigue.

Inflammatory bowel disease

There are mainly two types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both cause inflammation of the digestive tract, as well as pain, diarrhea, and possibly even malnutrition. Because there is no single test for IBD, however, it is mainly diagnosed by exclusion of everything else.

“If a patient comes in with severe abdominal pain, might think that is the first of his gallbladder,” says Shapiro. “If he comes in with loose stools, might think it is an infection So let through a long list of tests -. Images, blood tests, reviews – and sometimes finally arrived to the fact that we have ruled out any possibility so this is what we will treat you and we’ll see if it works. “


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