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Meta-analysis details commonly misdiagnosed illnesses

Some conditions are not diagnosed for years with little to no ill-effects for those who have them, but there are a number that are commonly misdiagnosed and can have adverse for the individuals who are left unaware of them. For instance, some medical symptoms are so common that doctors sometimes fail to connect them to conditions that can lead to more significant complications.

A 2008 review published in the Internet Journal of Family Practice identified the 12 most commonly misdiagnosed illnesses after researchers combed through data from malpractice suits and autopsies. Infections topped the list, but the news source speculated that this could be attributed to the large number of infection cases available for the analysis. Blood clots in the lungs, or pulmonary emboli, ranked second on the list because, often, they either lack symptoms or mimic those of other illnesses.

Heart attacks and cardiovascular disease occupied the third and fourth spots, respectively. Both conditions, much like blood clots, are difficult to diagnose because symptoms both fail to present and are shared with other conditions. Other illnesses on the list included celiac disease, lupus, joint dysfunction Parkinson's disease and Lyme disease. Depression was the only mental condition that made the list, and the source indicated that doctors over-attribute symptoms to it.

A medical misdiagnosis can prove devastating for a patient and his or her family. They can lead to painful, expensive tests, and, in worst-case scenarios, misdiagnoses can lead to permanent impairment or death. A legal team experienced with medical malpractice suits could prove invaluable to someone considering civil litigation against a medical professional or medical business entity.

Source: Mother Nature Network, "12 illnesses that are commonly misdiagnosed", Melissa Breyer, July 18, 2014

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