The 5 Most Misdiagnosed Diseases

There's little denying that the technological, research, and medicinal aspects of patient care are improving at breakneck speed. But sometimes, even the best medical care in the world just isn't enough to help someone. Occasionally this is because of the nature of a disease itself (i.e., many diseases still aren't well understood or are resistant to current medication), but in other case cases it's because of a patient being improperly diagnosed or receiving a delayed diagnosis.

Source: Rhoda Baer, National Cancer Institute.

The onus of a misdiagnosis is often placed on the physician, and with good reason -- they're the doctors, and we expect them to be all-knowing. However, plenty of misdiagnoses or delayed diagnoses can also be attributed to patient negligence in failing to take action in a timely manner when symptoms present themselves. Disease misdiagnosis is a two-way street that has plenty of room for improvement, but until recently had also been largely misunderstood -- that is, until a study in 2009 shed light on the most commonly misdiagnosed diseases.

Before this study, there had been no large database chronicling misdiagnoses, thus leaving no way for patients or physicians to know what diseases they should pay extra special care in diagnosing. And that's kind of a big deal, with as many as 98,000 people dying each year from preventable diseases because of medical errors.

However, a team of five physicians in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., sought to rectify this problem by compiling a meta-analysis (a fancy word for combining and comparing statistical results from multiple studies) of autopsy and malpractice data. The final research for this study included data from 31 separate reports.

The benefit of this data is twofold: it exposes problem areas in diagnosing certain diseases, which should help improve attention to detail from both physicians and patients exhibiting those symptoms, and it highlights the potential for more accurate diagnostic equipment. As investors, it also gives us definable opportunities to take advantage of instances where certain medicines or diagnostics may greatly increase in usage to improve patients' quality of life.

Here are the study's results for the five most misdiagnosed diseases based on autopsy and malpractice data, combined.

No. 5: Cardiovascular disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease was the leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2011 (responsible nearly 600,000 deaths), so it's not surprising to see it among the most commonly misdiagnosed diseases. A big concern here lies with the patient and in their ability to relay symptoms to their doctor. A heart attack, for example, may present relatively few symptoms, such as general nausea and a feeling of being full in a patient's chest. A doctor, in turn, needs to be able to recognize subtle symptoms as a possible sign of heart disease and not hesitate to order follow-up tests.

One simple way of reducing your chances of developing a cardiovascular disease is by getting more preventative screenings. Based on a CDC report, nearly one-third of U.S. adults have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, making it all the more important that people take this preventative step. This sheds light on next-generation cholesterol-lowering medications like oft-highlighted Liptruzet which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in May and could see a bump in sales if more people took this preventative step. Liptruzet, which combines the now generic LDL-fighting power of Pfizer's (NYSE: PFE  ) Lipitor, with the cholesterol absorption inhibiting prowess of Merck's (NYSE: MRK  ) Zetia, lowered LDL-cholesterol (the bad type) by 53% to 61% in patients -- a much bigger reduction than each drug delivered individually.

No. 4: Pulmonary emboli
A pulmonary embolism is a blockage of an artery in the lungs by any number of things, including fat, blood clots, and tumor cells. Perhaps the biggest factor to be concerned with here relates to your chance of developing a blood clot following surgery. Last month we discovered that venous thromboembolisms (deep-vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms) are the leading cause of preventable patient death in hospitals with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimating that 1.1% of all surgical patients will develop a blood clot. The key here would be for physicians to properly screen for and diagnose patients that have a higher risk of developing a blood clot in a post-surgical setting.

Diagnostic equipment could be called on to come to the rescue here, but I see this as a huge opportunity for Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb's (NYSE: BMY  ) recently approved blood-thinner Eliquis. At the moment, Eliquis is only approved to treat blood clots in patients with atrial fibrillation, but could see sales surge if it gets the expanded indication to treat post-surgical patients. Even if it's just a short-term treatment (the threat for post-surgical blood clots usually abates after a few weeks), the boost in sales could be enormous, and the chance of developing a blood clot for surgical patients could be dramatically reduced.

No. 3: Myocardial infarctions
Now we're literally talking about a heart attack! A myocardial infarction is nothing more than a blood flow blockage to your heart which causes muscle tissue damage and/or death in and around the heart. As I discussed above, some of the symptoms of a heart attack can be very subtle, so it's important for patients to discuss all their symptoms, regardless of how minor, with their doctor, and for that physician to order the proper diagnostic tests.

In diagnosing a heart attack the biggest obstacle is time, because once a diagnosis is made it can sometimes be too late. Preventative measures, such as ensuring your LDL-cholesterol is low; that your blood pressure is within normal ranges; and, should you have diabetes, that you are properly maintaining your condition through medication and proper diet, are all important factors to reducing your chance of a heart attack. A family history of heart attack also genetically puts you at a higher risk of a myocardial infarction, thus increasing the urgency that you take preventative steps early in life to avoid a disease like this, or worse, a misdiagnosis, later in life.

No. 2: Neoplasms
You may not recognize the scientific name, but a neoplasm is an abnormal growth of tissue most commonly referred to as cancer. Keep in mind that neoplasms can be benign as well, so with increasingly better medication and early stage detection in some cancer types, it's no longer the death sentence it once was. However, properly diagnosing cancer can often be very difficult if the needed tests aren't ordered or a patient's subtle symptoms aren't taken into account.

According to the study's findings, a disheartening 12% of all cancers -- one in eight -- are misdiagnosed from the start! Based on malpractice data from the meta-analysis, the deadly form of skin cancer known as melanoma tops the list as the most commonly misdiagnosed cancer type.

There could, however, be good news on the way for patients who have, or think they have, a certain type of melanoma. In May the FDA approved two new single-agent melanoma medications developed by GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK  ) , Tefinlar and Mekinist, as well as a companion diagnostic test known as THxID BRAF. The diagnostic test identifies the BRAF mutation in melanoma (the most common mutation in melanoma) while each unique new medication delayed tumor growth in patients for a longer period than those taking just the placebo.

No. 1: Infections
But the No. 1 misdiagnosis by physicians is infection. An anonymous survey of physicians with regard to children's health published in the journal Pediatrics noted that slightly more than half improperly diagnosed a viral infection as a bacterial infection during the course of the year.

The key to a properly diagnosed infection is in ensuring that your doctor performs the required follow-up tests. A patient needs to be forthcoming with all of his or her symptoms and physicians need to be diligent and thorough with their protocol for infection diagnosis.

Where do we go from here?
In addition to increasing the awareness for both patients and physicians around these five commonly misdiagnosed diseases, I believe it opens up the door for advancements in diagnostic and molecular technologies.

Source: Army Medicine, Flickr.

In cancer diagnostics, for instance, we're just touching the tip of the iceberg with regard to personalizing the therapy for better care and quicker diagnoses. Life Technologies introduced its Benchtop Ion Proton Sequencer early last year which can map the human genome in less than 24 hours for a cost of just $1,000. Quicker and more accurate results could make mapping the genome of cancerous tumors quicker than ever which would in turn help in diagnosing mutations and properly prescribing the best treatments for a particular cancer type.

Another prime example here would be Navidea Biopharmaceuticals' (NYSEMKT: NAVB  ) Lymphoseek which is an injectable agent used in external lymph-node imaging and intra-operative lymphatic mapping. In English this means it will dramatically improve the staging and treatment options for patients with breast cancer. Being that breast cancer was also listed as a commonly misdiagnosed cancer, this is a big step in the right direction for patient care.

Editor’s Note: The final sentence in the “No. 1 Infection” section has been edited, and a typo in the same section has been corrected. The Fool regrets the error.

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Read/Post Comments (51) | Recommend This Article (34)

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  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:48 PM, vor73 wrote:

    Just checking - but under Item 2 - Neoplasms -- 2nd sentence -- "Keep in mind that cancer can be benign as well" ... did you mean to say cancer can be benign? Or perhaps keep in mind that Neoplasms can be benign? That seems to make more sense?

    Thanks for an interesting article.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:54 PM, mjham wrote:

    One of the most misdiagnosed diseases is ARD (Adhesion Related Disease). Abdominal adhesions are practically ignored by doctors. My son has suffered with abdominal adhesions since 2006. While this is more common in women, men suffer as well.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:58 PM, yga623 wrote:

    Number 1: Infection. That was the case with me. My doctor said it was normal after a C-section to be a little red. My entire stomach was red, and warn to the touch; 2 key signs with infection. He refused to give me antibiotics. And I ended up in the hospital and having 2 more surgeries to save my life because I ended up with dead tissue and a severely spread infection. I came within days of dying according to my surgeon. (they found gangrene deep down in the wound)

    NEVER hesitate to get a second opinion. Or a third. I talked to another doctor he worked with. Same thing. I should have gone to a trusted doctor. They really screwed me over. I ended up sick and in bed missing my son's first few months. I couldn't even hold him, or get out of bed for more than 10 minutes at a time. I was in the hospital for half of his first 2 months of life. Always trust your instincts. Some doctors obviously don't want to do the extra work. They want an open and close procedure/issue.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:11 PM, TMFUltraLong wrote:

    Vor73,

    You are correct. My hands were moving faster than my thoughts. This is meant to say that neoplasms can be benign as well. Thanks for the comment.

    Sean

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:15 PM, luckyagain wrote:

    The major problem with doctor's diagnosis is that medicine has focused totally upon the memory of the doctor. While most doctor's are probably amongst the smartest of people, they are still humans and can miss symptoms. A similar problem exists for pilots years ago and it was addressed by requiring that pilots use check lists. With current computer technology, a medical checklist should be start of every diagnosis. The computerized check list would be able to list possible diagnosis and then the doctor can look at each one to determine if it needs further investigation.

    Getting doctors to do this would require doctors to accept that they are human and should use every tool that they can get.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:27 PM, Steve4590 wrote:

    Environmental illness is the most mis-diagnosed illness. Most doctors refuse to learn about environmental illness, and the insurance industry and other naysayers continue their marketing campaign to deny the truth about environmental illness. The checklist idea mentioned above is a good idea, but it needs to include a thorough review of possible environmental exposures.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:57 PM, RJFL99 wrote:

    Wow! I wonder if all the big pharmas mentioned paid to be mentioned in this article? It sounded like a commercial for drugs. I think people are overmedicated now and a lot of it is caused by the public demanding the latest boutique drug they've seen advertised, when an aspirin would do. But they don't care because Obamacare is going to pay for it on ridicously overpadded invoices!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:57 PM, Helivette wrote:

    My dad died of asbestos cancer . A hypochondriac who did yearly physicals , blood work .

    The doc sent him home ,,,,you are fine . The next year X-rays drink the blue juice . He told them the center of my chest there is something . You are fine

    the next X-ray tech said you know there is dark spot

    at the higher power .

    They reported you have 4 stage lung cancer . We give you 7 months get your affairs in order ( over the phone ) . They did chemotherapy time he was a shell of a man . Told waste of time

    My respect for medical professionals has gone to negative number ratings . He died right on time .

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 4:01 PM, jvackine wrote:

    Wow. How much did Pfizer pay you to write this article? Perhaps you should research the correlation between 'healthy numbers' related to preventative tests and the rise in sales of statins and other 'cannot-live-without' drugs. I work in a long term care facility and about 80% of my work is dealing with side effects of years of drugs the doctors told these poor people they had to have. The residents who have lived to be 100+ take little more than multivitamins and eye drops. You cannot tell me that's all genetics. I wish I could trust health articles, but this one is a stark reminder of why one should not.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 4:02 PM, bobythenoby wrote:

    Funny that there is no mention of the most over-diagnosed "condition" ever, ADHD; Aka, kids being kids. Sure there are some kids that DO actually have a problem( but the vast majority of them are trying to be children. It can be easily cured by letting them go run in circles outside for a few hours instead of letting the TV babysit them.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 4:04 PM, rustyfile wrote:

    I feel that I have been mis-diagnosed. I had went to see another doctor in a larger city and again the doctor wasn't sure whats going on.

    I suffer with sever rectal itch and burn most times after I use the toilet. I had done some major life style changes that did seem to help.

    My opinion here is possible rectal cancer. Of course both doctors had suggested highly that I get screened and should have already been screened some years ago. The problem is I do not have insurance nor the amount of money to cover the cost out of pocket. I do work but I earn to much for any sort of medical assistance but do not earn enough to pay for any health insurance.

    My home state doesn't offer free testing as many other states do. So I live today like there may not be another. I work hard to get as much done around the house and on my job to save as much money as I can to make it some what easier on my wife in the event that I end up dieing soon. I have taken out life insurance to cover everything my wife may need in the event that I am nolonger around.

    So now I work and wait on these symptoms to get worse to a point I can no longer work a job.

    My tickets probably punched and I just can not do anything about it.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 4:11 PM, marlenekay4 wrote:

    In 2009, I was misdiagnosed. I had pulminary emoblisms but was diagnosed as having asthma. I knew it wasn't asthma because I have had it all my life. A few weeks later, I had phlebitis in my right leg (was undiagnosed by doctor, I had to diagnose myself from internet), I also had an ultrasound in that leg. I had a lump in my left leg that he ignored. A couple of weeks later I collapsed, stopped breathing and they found I had multiple pulminary embolisms in both lungs and a clot in my left leg. 2 months later, one of my anti-coagulant sites collapsed and I felt extreme pain and tearing in the area. I went to the ER and the nurse said I tore a ligament and the doc concurred OVER THE PHONE!! NO testing, no ultrasound nothing. I was about4-5 months pregnant at this time. An hour after getting sent home from the Er, I was taken to another hospital and was found to have a tear in my stomach muslce and a massive hematoma. I had 8 units of blood and spent 2 months in the hospital. I almost died several times at doctors hands through these incidences. Needless to say.....I do not trust or like doctors anymore. And I have no respect for docs or most nurses to this day. Also, while in the hospital, I kept telling the nurse that my pic line was itcy. They just said it was the cleaner sollution and went about their business. A few weeks later I had a high fever and they tested the pic line and i had an infection. When I went in about a month later to have my baby, the nurses wouldn't listen to me about what veins to use for my IV. They poked me 14 times and ignored me. They called in the Emerg Response nurse to do it and she remembered me from the time of my fever and put it exactly in a spot I had been telling the other nurses to put it at. Again, I was completely ignored. I am so tired of being ignored, I no longer see doctors.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 4:13 PM, princessandsandy wrote:

    I think the aarp had it right when they said LUPUS was the number one misdiagnosed disease.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 4:18 PM, 4pepper wrote:

    Lipitor does not increase your life span. Read the insert. Also, the level of LDL is not what counts. It is the size of the particles. This is just designed to laud Pharma. For Shame!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 4:18 PM, Brenn2 wrote:

    Why the misleading headline? With the exception of no. 5, these aren't diseases, they're conditions. If hard-pressed, I might call them results of certain diseases, but I wouldn't call them "diseases" in and of themselves.

    I expected to see things like Celiac Sprue and Type II Diabetes, not "a heart attack". This is a bogus headline.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 4:21 PM, mousebug20 wrote:

    I have back trouble. After going to over 15 doctors and being told nothing they could do to help...that surgery was not an option I was sent to Pain Management. After all the lidocaine and medications of level 3 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia..Now that diagnosis is the "tough" test...they feel muscles at 3-4 points and make that diagnosis...OK..but 6 years later NO MEDICATION and now after many pain killers they just told me to get over counter numbing cream. So much for neurosurgeons and pain management. I am 60. Misdiagnosed??? How about A DIAGNOSIS I can treat..."doctors" and this is a medical college town that no one stays after their degree........and thats not all my problems...DDD, Scoliosis and rheumatoid arthritis... AND Dec. to July TRYING TO GET disability and one request after another for another doctor...now psychological....My mood? BAD..I can't go to a psychologist feeling like this. ..

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 4:24 PM, vet212 wrote:

    not erroneously diagnosed just no full exam done and no history with the doctor and as for cure for disease forget it treating is more profitable than cure docs are just like all of us human with failings and greed is a human failing you can treat over and over you can cure only once

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 4:31 PM, LynneGeorge2006 wrote:

    My husband is very ill with Liver failure and right now his meld level is at 12. The worst thing that happened to him and not lots of information out there and millions have it and it is still being looked into and more and more information is still being looked at still have no cure of it and so many have different types or issues with this. "Neuropathy". Used to thought as a diabetic disease. But any body can end up with it and so many types of it. My husband has P.N. due to his organ issues and can barely walk and lost lots of feelings in his arms and legs. His left hand is curling in and started off with a cane and now with a walker and walking is getting harder and harder for him. Consent pain everywhere in his body moment by moment can feel ok and then then whole body goes into pain. this illness needs to be more out there for others that have it. I found support neuropathy on Face book and their chat page has so many people asking if others are having the same issues and much feedback and wonderful that everyone supports each other.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 4:43 PM, Yvonne1959 wrote:

    On September 23, 2010 I was rushed from Urgent Care to the ER because my BP was extremely high and someone turned off the switch on my air supply. The ER did some type of blood test that told them that I had blood clots in my lungs, aka Pulmonary Embolism, so they doubled checked by doing a chest x-ray and blowing air into my lungs at the same time and that definitely confirmed it. I had MANY blood clots in both lungs and I was very lucky to be alive.

    Immediately the IV was started with all the good stuff to thin my blood and I was in the hospital for 6 days.

    After being released for 2 days, I asked my Doc if it was ok to fly back home to New Orleans and he said, "Of Course you can!!"

    BIG MISTAKE!!!

    After I arrived home from the airport, I suffered from severe pain in my right groin. I looked down at my right groin after I was done unpacking, by that time I was crying and screaming very loudly for a 51 year old adult woman. When I looked at my groin, there was a huge lump and a bruise larger than a mans hand that was NOT there before I got on the plane in Missouri, and the plane ride from Missouri to New Orleans is just less than an hour or right up to an hour depending on the weather. I felt absolutely nothing while I was in flight, and I mean nothing.

    Again, I was on my way to the ER after unpacking my luggage from a flight. The ER Doc said I should have NEVER been told that it was ok to fly, and that I did have another blood clot in my groin that exploded in my groin in flight because of the air compression in the cabin and I was lucky to be alive AGAIN. Does the nightmare ever end? well, it finally did that night, and after all of that drama, I was told that I have to stay on blood thinners for the rest of my life.

    No test were ever done to see what caused the blood clots, whether they were genetic or not. I WAS taking hormone pills so they immediately blamed it on them, and still NO test were ever done to see WHY I had those blood clots or what caused them. I am too afraid to just stop taking my Warfarin. I have 2 Doctors, my PCP and my Muscular Dystrophy Doctor. Who do I talk to and what do I say or what do I do? They all know that I'm taking the Warfarin for the Pulmonary Embolism, and they all know that there were no testing done, and no one ever said a word.

    **Yvonne**

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 4:47 PM, Bill195954 wrote:

    What about Lyme Disease ???? Peace

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 4:51 PM, CaptainCrapper wrote:

    Chronic pelvic pain syndrome took 3 years to get a correct diagnosis. Now they are saying that it may be due to pudental nerve entrapment... that took another year & another specialist. Doctors tend to give you the run around when they don't understand your condition.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 4:53 PM, willie8890 wrote:

    Don't hesitate to ask questions or get a second

    opinion. Remember that half of the doctors that

    graduate each year are in the bottom 50% of

    their class.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 5:13 PM, RCWIII wrote:

    While I agree that these five are often misdiagnosed, I can top them all... I spent a month in a coma, in 2008 - all of which I remember, having quoted those around me verbatim since - much to everyone's surprise, amazement and embarrassment at times... I died three times during that month, and was pronounced dead the third time. Friends were told I had died, and the hospital never corrected this... They ALMOST died when I called them 4 months later when I got home to ask them why they stopped coming to visit me in the coma... How do you "misdiagnose" dead - and at the top hospital in my state...

    BTW, Unrelated to all this, I am a 40 year Cancer patient... Cancer is NEVER benign where Neoplasms/Growths can be... LOL, I guess I just answered my own question... If you can describe Cancer incorrectly, I guess you might not know what dead means either...

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 5:16 PM, petergerling wrote:

    At least we can rule out Lupus!!! lol (thanx Gregory House, M.D.)

    I would throw ADD and ADHD into the top list!

    I had a lot of doctors put me on at least six prescriptions and when I finally just said go f!@# yourself and stopped taking all of them I finally felt normal again!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 5:27 PM, pixiewife wrote:

    Both of my parents ended up with the same type of cancer in the same location ten years apart both were also misdiagnosed until it was untreatable. Both were caused by my fathers exposure to agent orange during the Vietnam war. But no Doctors wanted to take the time to really delve into why someone suddenly had problems swallowing they assumed it was because of age. My mother died at age 61 my father last year 10 years to the month after her at the age of 70. Our Doctors really do need to spend more time with their patients.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 5:43 PM, Moonz23 wrote:

    When I was two, I was diagnosed with mild physical Cerebral Palsy....37 years later.. 14 years after getting very ill...I was told I didn't have Cerebral palsy but a big brain cyst.....I heard everything from Lupus to "it was all just in my head" funny how that worked out it was.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 5:47 PM, Total06110 wrote:

    The first 3 are all related and the last one you're most likely to catch in a hospital.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 5:47 PM, Total06110 wrote:

    Most commonly misdiagnosed is STUPIDITY.

    It's often thought to be simple IGNORANCE.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 5:50 PM, SkittlzZ wrote:

    As a writer for these types of articles you do get some payoff for every time a person clicks on these hyperlinks (in this situation fancy brand pharmacy names). Now that that's situated you can all go back to the main topic of misdiagnosis. I love how everyone always has negative things to say about these companies and doctors but tend to do no more than complain. If all you whiners got up and made an effort to actually change things guess what? Things might actually change...

    And stop being retards and dogging these writers for their subjects and relaying of info, they aren't force feeding you anything. In the end it's always your choice of what to and not to heed.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 5:54 PM, Xcattlebreeder wrote:

    You can add Cushing's Disease to the list. I was told by several Doctors that I was "just fat" when the weight gain was caused by Cushing's.

    the delay in diagnosis has caused many other lingering health problems in my life.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 6:03 PM, GeriCEU wrote:

    It is important to take some responsibility for their own health. Do not just think the health care system has your best interest in mind.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 6:10 PM, sbirdy wrote:

    Leukemia is misdiagnosed, too. My son had all the symptoms--fatigue, terrible bruising, enlarged spleen. And his doctor had NO idea what was going on. He asked his doctor point-blank "Can it be cancer?" And his doctor said no.

    His doctor prescribed antibiotics without doing ANY testing whatsoever. It was only two months later when my son was in the emergency room with spleen pain that a simple blood test was finally done. Even the ER doctors thought it was just mono. Then his huge white blood cell count came back and changed our lives forever.

    He is, fortunately, doing pretty well now, but he came very close to dying because of ignorant doctors.

    Watch for these symptoms, parents. I had no idea about them until my son got sick.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 6:41 PM, Truth4allofU wrote:

    Liberalism must be #6

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 6:58 PM, bob2231 wrote:

    How about my "healthcare professional" diagnosing a prostate infection and prescribing antibiotics when the problem was a degenerative spine condition.

    Had it been correctly diagnosed,maybe asking for x-rays at least,the first couple spine surgeries may have been unnecessary.

    Thanks for ruing my life,Dr.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 7:01 PM, tsimm975 wrote:

    So many commenters here are a bit paranoid as well as lumping all doctors as the same. Just like any group, they are comprised of individuals.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 7:08 PM, mrpeadiddy wrote:

    One night I had some stomach pain which woke me up. Next day I went to ER and having waited there all night was told next morning to come back for a ultrasound. The ultra turned out okay and they gave me some antacid and sent me home. Six months went by. One night I had this bloating and diarrohea which was horrific. I went to some gastro and he said I have high WBC and maybe should test for HIV. I went to see another doc and he gave me something for infection. One did a endoscopy and told me I have minor acidity. But the bloating and diarrohea wont go away. For next two years I ran from doc to doc and they did nothing. One even told me to get out of his clinic. One told me I have IBS and there is no cure for that so live with it. Finally after two years of agony and pain I was properly tested and some MRI's and CT scans later I was diagnosed with stage 4 gastrinoma. Now I am fighting this disease for last eight years with a pancreotectomy and many chemo sessions and some targeted therapies. Motto of the story is if have something chronic get properly tested and diagnosed.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 7:10 PM, D2fromTX wrote:

    Lyme Disease. Mimics MS, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis, just to name a few. Affects the heart, nerves, muscles and skeletal system.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 7:17 PM, parmcg wrote:

    3 comments. Firstly, Sean, I also noticed the "cancers can be benign" misstatement. You acknowledged such in the comments section, but can't you correct the original text for people who don't read comments? Secondly, not far into your article, after so many drug recommendations, I was wondering if you were working for big pharma. Thirdly, one needs to know a lot about the relationship between high cholesterol and first heart attacks and cholesterol-lowering drugs before it is decided that drugs are a proper course of action.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 7:37 PM, lubeau wrote:

    First of all, most diseases are caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies throughout the world and today's doctors are given guidelines to follow and diagnose their patients. The world is nutrient deficient.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 8:34 PM, lubeau wrote:

    Prevention is the solution to staying healthy and in order to do this we should stay away from synthesized additives like hydrogenated oils and buy only foods that contain real oils like virgin olive oil. Hydrogenated oils are chemically modified oils that are not compatible with the human body processes and only give increased shelf life and profit for the manufacturer.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 8:55 PM, mictour wrote:

    I had an abscess tooth removed at the VA hospital in Boston. I could taste nothing but the puss I asked the doctor for antibiotics he said it wasn't necessary three days later I was taken to Togus VA the Doctor was P.O. that he didn't give me antibiotics for an obvious infection. I didn't sue I was too ticked that I could have died from it instead I went back to the VA

    grabbed him and slammed it into his pea arrogant brain. I felt better he didn't this clown almost killed me.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 9:29 PM, fred151412 wrote:

    Your article doesn't say how the five diseases were chosen. But you didn't include a disease that goes misdiagnosed for many years and causes severe damage not only the person with the disease but with his or here family, friends, coworkers (if he or she can even keep a job). It is also the leading cause of suicide in the USA.

    The disease that should be on your list is Bipolar disease.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 9:40 PM, birder1500 wrote:

    Sounds like an advertisement to me.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 9:51 PM, Crawfordnotch6 wrote:

    Under Infections, the word is 'thorough' not 'throughout', Sean.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 10:48 PM, lcr123 wrote:

    In my experience, bacterial infections are mis diagnosed as viral. Nothing they can do about viral, so it's an easier diagnosis. If it's bacterial, they don't want to prescribe antibiotics due to resistance, additional tests to find the specific antibiotic, cost, side effects. But antibiotics are the only med that can get rid of sinusitis, strep, bronchitis, walking pneumonia, wound infections, etc.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 11:07 PM, PCHE wrote:

    I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I am simply a medical technologist offering suggestions.

    "rustyfile": How do you know it's not an allergic reaction? Have you tried changing toilet paper brands or using a watering can like they do in some Asian countries?

    "Yvonne1959": Ask to be referred to a hematologist & order Factor V Leiden, Protein C & S, Prothrombin G20210A, and MTHFR gene mutation.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 11:13 PM, RickytimeRic wrote:

    My brother's cancer was first diagnosed as alcohol withdrawal than as acid reflex. He lost sixty pounds before the Doctor's diagnosed it correctly but died a few days later.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 11:38 PM, REENIE15 wrote:

    Iwas badly misdiagnosed after seeing a cardiologist and a electrophtoligst for 5 years I was passing out having dizzy spells, they told me it was because my blood pressure was too low and my heart rate was too loI also needw , 1 week after my 56th birthday I was having breathing problems, my daughter took me to urgent care they did an ekg and rushed me to the hospital after blood test ultrasounds,they found 4 to 5 quarter size clots in both lungs, there had been a clot in my left calf that had been forming all this time, and started breaking off I also was severly amiemic and needed iron and blood tranfusions and tpl I now have a vena cava filter but now they want to remove it, I also need followup care for a colonoscopy and gi work too mae sure there is no cancer, which nis sometimes common after dvt, but my insurance ran out while I was in the hospital, and can,t get the proper care I need and have to wait to see if the state will approve medical disability,by that time the filter could move or break off and move to my lungs or heart and kill me anyway

  • Report this Comment On July 22, 2013, at 8:18 AM, peep52 wrote:

    Rusty..have you checked out celiac disease. It could be what you are eating. Eliminate gluten for a few weeks and see if it improves.

  • Report this Comment On July 22, 2013, at 11:10 AM, SLTom992 wrote:

    At one time anyone that wanted could hang out a shingle. Then they started licensing Doctors and it soon required a PhD to become a licensed doctor.

    But all of the licenses in the world will not help if the doctor doesn't have lots of critical data or if he just doesn't give a damn.

    Particularly if you live alone, something that is becoming more and more common, you may have no idea of what is happening to you and what symptoms you might be showing and without those no doctor can do anything but make wild guesses.

    What's more, doctors tend to unconsciously begin specializing simply because in any given area there tends to be more or less the same common illnesses. It doesn't take long before they have difficultly looking beyond those.

    I don't see how you can help that except as an individual you must see different doctors until you find one that is challenged enough by your case for him to look beyond the normal cures.

    Of course you must first be aware of your problem. I had a concussion that robbed me of short term memory and was causing seizures of the sort that robbed me also of long term memory. So I received the injury on Dec 18, 2009 and my friend and brother finally got me to an interested and extremely good neurologist in 2011 and it wasn't until January of 2012 that I awoke more or less me but with highly impaired long term memory. During that time people could tell something was wrong but since I was operating as in sleep walking mode I seemed close to normal. Except that you could say something to me and ask me about it a minute later and I had no idea what you were talking about. So before I could get the seizure medication I first had to get the medication that would return my short term memory. And all of that took perhaps six months.

    Doctors are not Gods save that one that cures you.

  • Report this Comment On July 22, 2013, at 1:25 PM, nan458 wrote:

    Sarcoidosis has to be one of them! It can involves a combination of the above. Pulmonary, neoplasms, cardiac, dermatology, rheumatology. Every organ in the body. Sad thing is Dr's aren't very educated when it comes to it. I have to educate my primary on it!! Sarcoidosis looks malignant on radiology even though it isn't. Often diagnosed as lymphoma as it attacks the lymphs nodes frequently. No cure, if your lucky it will go into remission.

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