- Vascular events (any condition that affects your circulatory system) – Heart attack, stroke, Peripheral artery disease, Renal artery disease, Aneurysms, DVT’s, Pulmonary embolism, and more.
- Infections – diagnosing a viral infection when it is really a bacterial infection and of course, vice versa. Treatments are different. Lyme disease. Chlamydia, Urinary tract infections, Parasitic infections, etc.
- Cancers – Breast cancer, Lymphoma, Colon cancer, Lung cancer, and Skin cancers are the most common.
You know your body and how you are. When you know something isn’t right with you, go and get checked. You are your own best advocate. It is okay to research your symptoms. It is also okay to know when you don’t know and need professional help.
Misdiagnoses happen. Missed diagnoses happen. Get that second opinion or third opinion. Make sure that you and your physician are looking at the same set of clues and symptoms. We all have our own unknown biases. The ways that we view things and the ways that we describe things. I may describe a pain as constant and sometimes sharp. You may describe is as the worst pain you have had inn your life. It all relates to what we have experienced before.
Ask questions, write your signs and symptoms down with clarification of when, why and what makes it better or worse. All of these clues will help in the diagnosis. Remember, it is the practice of medicine and not the absolutes of medicine. There are no absolutes.
Differential diagnosis is better for all of us. We start out with what it might be and start ruling stuff out. Sometimes, that takes a little time. Uncommon conditions pose a problem and you need an expert that can put things together and figure out a plan of action. Plus, they need to be able to recognize when they have misdiagnosed something and work towards a better diagnosis.
The best thing you can do is to have a physician that will work with you, listen to you and discuss options with you. If you do not have that, you need to fire your current doctor and find one who will work with you.
Other things you can do is to be prepared when you go in for the office visit. Do not make your doctor guess what the hell is going on. It is your responsibility to provide them with all of the clues that you can to help them make a more accurate diagnosis. What started first. You may not be able to put it all together from the beginning, but you will be close. Ask your doctor what they think it is and why they think that? Ask, “What else it could be?” If your doctor shuts you down, then maybe it is time to find a new doctor.
After the visit, you need to be aware of how you are doing. Are you better? Are you getting better, worse or the same? Don’t just assume that the treatment isn’t working, if you do not improve. You may have the right treatment for a disease, but you just don’t happen to have that disease. You were misdiagnosed. Get back in for a visit with your doctor. If you don’t tell them the medication is not working, they won’t know to look for something else. They are not mind readers and to them “no news is good news.”
A side note – A missed diagnosis is also called a failure to diagnoses or a delayed diagnosis. It means that the doctor or other health professional did not realize a medical condition that a patient presented with signs and symptoms of.
So, do you or a loved one have a dementia or is it malnutrition, dehydration, mood disorder or substance abuse problem? Could it be NPH (normal pressure hydrocephalus)?
Ask questions and keep asking until you get a good science-based answer. Rule out the things that you can and understand that you may not like the answer but you do have a good solid answer.