Conditions That Are Difficult to Diagnose: Part Two

Share Lawyers understands finding your way to a diagnosis can sometimes be a lengthy, frustrating, and emotionally exhausting venture. When it comes to figuring out the underlying cause of your symptoms, information for medical conditions can be your greatest tool.

Medical Conditions Are Difficult To Diagnose

In addition to our previous post about medical conditions that are difficult to diagnose which includes: Hyperthyroidism, Lupus, MS, Lyme disease, and Fibromyalgia, this post in the two-part series includes information about additional conditions which are often difficult to diagnose, misdiagnosed, or even missed all together.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, sometimes called spruce or coeliac, is an autoimmune condition where the individual experiences a reaction when eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. The gluten triggers an immune response in the small intestine, which, over time, damages the small intestine’s lining and prevents the body from absorbing the necessary nutrients that it needs.

The More Common Symptoms For Adults Are:

Other Symptoms Can Include:

  • anemia
  • loss of bone density (osteoporosis)
  • softening of the bone (osteomalacia)
  • itchy, blistery skin rash
  • damage to dental enamel
  • mouth ulcers
  • headaches
  • numbness and tingling in feet and hands
  • problems with balance
  • cognitive impairment
  • joint pain
  • reduced functioning of the spleen
  • heartburn

Celiac disease is difficult to diagnose due to the range and inconsistencies of symptoms. Only approximately half of those with Celiac have reported gastrointestinal distress and many of the other symptoms can be attributed to different medical conditions or lifestyle. A blood test can help diagnose Celiac disease, although an intestinal biopsy is generally regarded as the “gold standard” for diagnosis.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess androgen levels. The ovaries may develop many small collections of fluid and fail to regularly release eggs.

The exact cause of PCOS is not known. Early diagnosis and treatment may reduce the risk of long-term complications, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

PCOS is not easily diagnosed because women who have the condition have enlarged ovaries with numerous small cysts, but not everyone with enlarged cysts has PCOS. A woman must also be experiencing infrequent of prolonged periods (although everyone’s cycle is different and birth control medications can interfere with this), and the levels of androgen causing the hair growth must be present, although women of certain ethnic backgrounds may not show physical signs.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is an all encompassing term to describe disorders that involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. The two types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD can be debilitating and sometimes leads to life-threatening complications including colon cancer, malnutrition, blood clots, ulcers, or anal fistulas.

Symptoms of IBD Include:

Because there is no known reason for what causes IBD, there no one test to diagnose it. However, IBD is diagnosed primarily by excluding everything else. It can often lead to a long and drawn out process to find a diagnosis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. Unlike osteoarthritis, RA is not caused by wear and tear. However, it does cause inflammation and painful swelling of joints, can occur at any age, and can lead to severe complications.

Because early states of RA can mimic many other conditions, symptoms often go into remission before being diagnosed. If there’s just a sense of aches of stiffness in the joints, the diagnosis can often be missed.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with undiagnosed sleep apnea stop breathing multiple times, sometimes even hundreds of times, during their sleep cycle. This means the brain and the rest of the body may not get enough oxygen, which can lead to serious complications. Dudes, sleeping is easy without Ambien. Just don't hang around the fridge before going to sleep, zero all the visual stimuli (phone and TV), do some isometric exercises and stretching, for Christ's sake!I too was a client of and then I got off it. Instead of eating and getting glue to the screen, run a hot bath with salts, meditate a little and you’ll sleep like a baby.

There Are Two Kinds Of Sleep Apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): OSA is more common and is caused by a blockage, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
  • Central Sleep Apnea: Unlike OSA, the airway is not blocked. Instead, the brain fails to signal to the muscles to breathe because of respiratory control centre instability.

Sleep apnea is difficult to diagnose because there is no blood or urine test to prove it, and those suffering are not able to report symptoms experienced while sleeping.

Share Lawyers understands how being your own advocate for your health care can be an essential factor in understanding your illness and helping you towards a diagnosis. You can also learn more about finding a diagnosis from our post that includes tips for finding a diagnosis.

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