There are many health conditions that are misdiagnosed. Unfortunately, depending on the misdiagnosis, a patient could suffer serious consequences or even death as a result.
As a patient, it’s important to seek second opinions and to find out if your test results or diagnoses are correct. Taking that step can help you identify misdiagnoses quickly, so you can still get the treatments you need.
What are some common misdiagnoses?
Several conditions are more likely to be misdiagnosed than others. Those conditions may include:
- Heart attacks
- Celiac disease
Cancer is commonly misdiagnosed
The Journal of Clinical Oncology reports that cancer misdiagnoses are particularly common, happening in as many as 28% of cases. For some types of cancer, it was possible that up to 44% of cases would be misdiagnosed.
Heart attacks could be missed
Heart attacks are often missed, too. This is because they mimic many other conditions. Chest pain can be caused by anxiety or indigestion. Chest pain can also be a sign of infections.
Older people and women don’t always have the common and most recognizable signs of a heart attack, like chest pain, which can make a heart attack harder to identify.
Celiac disease may mask itself
Celiac disease is a disease in which the body cannot absorb or break down gluten. Instead, the immune system responds and ends up damaging the small intestine.
Celiac disease is misdiagnosed in around 83% of cases, largely because of the varied symptoms from patient to patient. Common symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, depression and headaches. This disease is commonly misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome.
Strokes are often overlooked
Finally, there are strokes. Strokes may be misdiagnosed because of symptoms that are similar to those involved in migraines, vertigo and drunkeness. Some common symptoms include severe headaches, numbness in the face, confusion, vision problems and difficulty speaking. Anyone with these symptoms does need emergency medical treatment.
As a patient, you need to seek the best care and should be heard if you’re complaining of symptoms that are interfering with your life. If you’re suffering from a condition that is misdiagnosed, you could see the condition worsen over time, leading to serious consequences. If that happens, the medical provider who diagnosed you may be held liable for their errors, in some cases.