8 Conditions Doctors Often Diagnose Wrong

When painful indigestion, joint pain, or other unexplained health woes plague you for weeks and months on end, you naturally make an appointment with your doctor for answers. However, what do you do when your health care provider is unable to identify the source of your mysterious ailment?

Here are eight medical conditions the doctors often leave doctors scratching their heads…

1. Fibromyalgia

The mysterious musculoskeletal pain, sleep disruptions, mood and memory changes, and fatigue caused by Fibromyalgia, often leaves physicians totally perplexed. This also explains why Fibromyalgia is often a blanket term used to diagnose patients when a physical cause cannot be found to explain the myriad of symptoms.  In fact, research from Yale University indicates that the specialist the patient is referred to with often influence the diagnosis—for instance, a gastroenterologist will likely diagnoses IBS while a rheumatologist will more often diagnose fibromyalgia, which may explain why according to the American College of Physicians, roughly 5.8 million Americans have been diagnosed with this condition.

2. Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is another autoimmune disease in which the body turns on itself, in this case the immune system strikes the nerve cells, causing lesions in the brain and mixed messages between the brain and the body—such as symptoms of tingling, numbness, and weakness in the limbs. MS can only be determined via an MRI or a spinal tap, both costly and intensive tests.

3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Frustratingly, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or IBS) is diagnosed via a series of elimination, which means doctors must rule out all related and potential conditions first before looking at the diagnostic criteria for an IBS diagnosis, this while the patient deals with the chronic and often debilitating symptoms of the condition—abdominal cramps, gas, bloating, and bouts of diarrhea followed by constipation. Sadly, booking a formal IBS evaluation can take a minimum of 6-months after a patient first visits the doctor with concerns.

4. Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (or IBD) strikes in one of 2 ways: either via a condition called Ulcerative Colitis or a condition known as Crohn’s disease. The problem with diagnosing patients with IBD, according to medical doctors at Yale’s Investigative Medicine Program, is that the symptoms of both conditions—abdominal pain, explosive diarrhea and/or constipation, inflammation, weight loss, and malnutrition—often mimic viral infections and gallbladder damage, which causes doctors to perform the tests to eliminate those concerns first before exploring an IBD diagnosis.

5. Lyme Disease

Unless you develop the telltale “bull’s eye” rash or locate a tick, the symptoms of Lyme disease can be very perplexing. In fact, the wide-ranging symptoms—joint pain, exhaustion, migraines, stiffness, and fever—are often confused with other conditions, like MS. And a doctor will usually work to eliminate those before doing the often-flawed blood test to look for Lyme antibodies in the blood.

6. Celiac Disease

This inflammatory condition is triggered by an immune reaction to gluten; as a result celiac disease ravages the small intestine whenever foods like rye, wheat, or barley are consumed—causing explosive diarrhea, sudden weight loss, joint pain, headaches, and itchy skin. Even though a fairy simple blood test can identify the disease, followed up with an endoscopy to ascertain small intestine impairment, it can often take as long as a decade for Celiac patients to get a firm diagnosis.

7. Lupus

If only the telltale rash of lupus were visible in all patients suffering from the painful inflammatory condition. However, the red flush, appearing like a butterfly with wings spread across the patient’s nose and cheeks, is only evident in roughly 40-percent of patients. This leaves doctors confounded by the widespread symptoms—including erratic flare-ups of kidney and joint pain, lung, brain, and skin issues—until a blood and urine test for lupus are preformed.

8. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Similar to Fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis (or RA) can cause a collection of mysterious aches and pains. The autoimmune condition ravages the joints with stiffness, pain, and inflammation akin to many other disorders that often have to be ruled out in a series of elimination tests and research the patient’s medical history first, before a diagnosis of RA can be determined.


Emily Lockhart

Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.