The average American experiences at least one serious health condition in their lifetime. Unfortunately, researchers estimate that millions of doctors’ visits result in misdiagnosis every year. A disease or condition can get worse or become deadly if misdiagnosed or missed entirely. Therefore, it’s important to bring up issues with your doctor as soon as you notice them.
These are the most commonly misdiagnosed diseases and health conditions in the U.S. You might have one of them without even knowing it.
7. Pulmonary embolism
Shortness of breath, chest pain, and coughing most commonly signal there’s a blood clot in one or both of your lungs — something that needs immediate medical attention. However, leg pain, dizziness, and fever could also mean there’s a life-threatening issue.
The longer you experience symptoms, the more likely you are to receive a misdiagnosis. It’s important to notify your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the symptoms above.
6. Thyroid disease
An overactive or underactive thyroid can lead to sudden feelings of anxiety or depression, fatigue, constipation, and more.
Common thyroid disorder symptoms not only develop gradually over time, but also mimic symptoms of other health conditions. This is why it’s often misdiagnosed, which can lead to more serious health problems like irregular heartbeat or osteoporosis.
People with fibromyalgia experience debilitating chronic pain and fatigue. These symptoms can look a lot like a number of other conditions, like arthritis, lupus, and thyroid problems, which is why it’s one of the most misdiagnosed health problems.
Doctors don’t know what causes fibromyalgia. It’s most likely triggered by a combination of genetics, infection, and physical or emotional trauma.
4. Lyme disease
A single tick bite can leave you fatigued, aching, and miserable — and it’s not always easy to figure out the cause. This condition is highly underreported and minimally researched, so there’s still a lot we don’t know about it.
You might end up with a fever, headache, sleep problems, or mood changes — all things a doctor could mistake for a mental health condition like depression.
3. Celiac disease
This is an autoimmune disease in which a substance called gluten triggers an unfavorable reaction. Adults might experience anything from fatigue to joint pain to migraines and more.
It’s difficult to diagnose celiac disease, because there are over 200 different symptoms a person could experience related to the condition. Each case looks different, meaning a simple checklist of symptoms might not be enough.
It’s not uncommon to experience depression symptoms. Researchers estimate that about 350 million people suffer worldwide.
Everyone with depression experiences it differently. Some people feel strong emotions; others claim they feel “numb” or empty. Not everyone feels sad or isolates themselves from their friends, which is why the condition’s physical and psychological signs and symptoms sometimes look like something different.
There are over 200 types of cancer, many of them deadly — especially without early intervention or proper treatment. Misdiagnosis is just one of many reasons cancer treatments sometimes just don’t work.
When doctors diagnose cancer too late, regardless of the reason, patients are much more likely to experience failed treatment and death. This happens far too often, which is why it’s better to consult your doctor if you suspect any issue — whether you’re unsure or not.
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