Most Common Misdiagnoses Doctors Make

Common sense and instinct do not tell you to get a second opinion for nothing. Like anyone, doctors can go wrong too. According to the National Patient Safety Foundation, misdiagnoses constitute 40 percent of doctors’ mistakes.

One could easily chalk it up to the fact that multiple diseases may share one symptom. A person may get fever from both cancer and flu, runny nose from both SARS and tuberculosis, and so on. Only medical tests would be able to set one condition apart from another.

Visiting a doctor does not make for passive activity, wherein you just sit in the waiting room and leave with the prescription in hand. You need to take control of how doctors treat you, stat! As a rule, the doctor must let you take tests before giving a tentative diagnosis.

Control also involves finding the best doctor you could afford, asking the right questions, and applying some healthy skepticism. It’s a prescription for a healthy lifestyle.

Symptom #1

  • Headaches
  • Aching/ringing ears
  • Backaches
  • Neck pain
  • Toothache

Common diagnosis

  • Ear disorder
  • Migraine

It’s probably: TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome). Headaches, ear aches and nearby pains develop with TMJ, which strikes when the joint adjoining your skull and jaw gets inflamed. Your first instinct would often be to go to the MD, but the right person to treat this is the dentist. As a tip, visit the dentist if the MD has prescribed medications that don’t work.

Symptom #2

  • Numbness on the side
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Lack of balance
  • Blurry eyesight
  • Impaired speech

Common diagnosis

  • Migraine
  • Vertigo
  • Inner ear disorder

It’s probably: Stroke. Numbness on one side, coupled with other symptoms, signifies an emergency already. It’s a green light for you to go to the ER, more urgently if the symptoms have lasted more than one hour. Unfortunately, fourteen percent of individuals below 45 years tend to be misdiagnosed. If that isn’t bad enough, ER personnel tend to attribute such symptoms in younger patients to less pressing diseases. Untreated stroke sets you up for a worse one, which may then progress to paralysis and brain damage.

Symptom #3

  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Palpitations

Common diagnosis

  • Panic attack
  • Stress

It’s probably: Cardiovascular disease, if not a heart attack. Women are more likely than men to be wrongly diagnosed with other conditions instead of heart disease. As a result, many women only discover they have heart disease after a heart attack, and it may be too late. Seek an appointment with a cardiologist as soon as possible.

Symptom #4

  • Sadness
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle aches
  • Stiffness

Common diagnosis: Depression

It’s probably: Hypothyroidism, a disease wherein your thyroid gland does not secrete enough hormones, is tipped off by feelings of desolation. When it aggravates, hypothyroidism may lead to heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. And irony of ironies, it can lead to real, out-and-out, clinical depression. The least you could do is take a TSH blood test to rule out the condition.

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