Misdiagnosis of COPD
Misdiagnosis of COPD
A diagnosis of COPD may be delayed or missed because the symptoms of COPD generally develop slowly over years and may not be noticed initially. Some symptoms, such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and pallor, can be vague and attributed to other conditions as such as aging. Other symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, and chest pain as similar to symptoms for such conditions as heart attack, pneumonia. And heart failure, and influenza.
Only a thorough evaluation by a physician or licensed health care provider can determine the cause of symptoms. It is important to seek prompt medical care if you experience shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, or any other symptoms of COPD....more about COPD »
Alternative diagnoses list for COPD:
For a diagnosis of COPD,
the following list of conditions
have been mentioned in sources
as possible alternative diagnoses
to consider during the diagnostic process for COPD:
Diseases for which COPD may be an alternative diagnosis
The other diseases for which COPD
is listed as a possible alternative
diagnosis in their lists include:
COPD: Hidden Causes Misdiagnosed?
Causes of COPD may include these medical conditions:
Rare Types of COPD:
COPD: Medical Mistakes
Related medical mistakes may include:
COPD: Undiagnosed Conditions
Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:
Common Misdiagnoses and COPD
Sinusitis is overdiagnosed: There is a tendency to give a diagnosis of sinusitis,
when the condition is really a harmless complication of another infection,
such as a common cold.
Whooping cough often undiagnosed: Although most children in the Western world have been
immunized against whooping cough (also called "pertussis"), this protection wears
off after about 15 years.
Thus, any teen or adult with a persistent cough may actually have whooping cough.
This is particularly dangerous for babies too young to be vaccinated,
and any un-vaccinated children.
Whooping cough can be fatal to an infant.
The cough symptoms of whooping cough is usually productive initially, but then
becomes a persistent dry cough, lasting up to 100 days.
Elderly grandparents may also be a reservoir of undiagnosed whooping cough.
Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease
is often over-diagnosed.
Patients tend to assume that any memory loss or forgetulness symptom might be Alzheimer's,
whereas there are many other less severe possibilities.
Some level of memory decline is normal with aging,
and even a slight loss of acuity may be noticed in the 30's and 40's.
Other conditions can also lead a person to show greater forgetfulness.
For example, depression and depressive disorders can cause a person to
have reduced concentration and thereby poorer memory retention.
Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for
a patient to show mental decline to dementia.
Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions,
such as a stroke or Alzheimer's disease,
it can also occur from a side effect or interaction between multiple drugs
that the elderly patient may be taking.
There are also various other possible causes of dementia.
Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that
any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease.
The reality is that there are various possibilities, such as benign essential tremor,
which is mostly harmless.
see the various causes of tremor and misdiagnosis of Parkinson's disease.
Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic
disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's.
The disease Fragile X disorder can show only mild symptoms in the early years,
and Parkinsons-like symptoms around age 50.
See misdiagnosis of Parkinson's disease.
Chronic lung diseases hard to diagnose: Some of the chronic lung diseases
are difficult to diagnose.
Even the well-knowns conditions such as asthma or lung cancer often fail to be diagnosed early.
Some of the chronic lung diseases with diagnostic difficulties
include asthma (perhaps surprisingly), COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, mesothelioma,
smoker's cough, AIDS-related respiratory conditions (see AIDS), chronic pneumonia, and other respiratory diseases.
Rare possibilities include diseases like psittacosis (bird-related lung infection).
See other types of chronic lung diseases.
Misdiagnosed weight-related causes of infertility: A woman's weight status
can affect her level of fertility.
Although obesity or overweight can in themselves reduce fertility, there are other
weight-related or associated medical conditions that further reduce fertility.
Some of these hidden causes include COPD, diabetes, thyroid disorders (overactive thyroid
or underactive thyroid) and metabolic syndrome.
See also other causes of infertility.
COPD: Rare Types
Rare types of medical disorders and diseases in related medical areas:
- Chronic Respiratory Disorders -- Rare Types:
- Chronic Major Diseases -- Rare Types:
- Senior Health: rare types of diseases:
- more rare diseases...»
Failure To Diagnose COPD
Failure to diagnose COPD may be associated with the following:
- Failure to diagnose and treat COPD can lead to a more rapid progression of the disease and increased mortality rates. The progress of COPD can be minimized through treatment and avoidance of precipitating factors such as smoking
- COPD often remains undiagnosed for lengthy periods of time because the initial symptoms such as a persistent morning cough are considered not significant enough to warrant medical advice
- The absence of symptoms in the early stages of COPD and the subtle onset of symptoms often results in patients failing to seek medical advice. It's only once the symptoms become more serious that patients tend to act
- COPD is a condition that develops later in life and patients with existing asthma often have and symptoms caused by developing COPD attributed to their asthma. Thus, a pre-existing respiratory condition increases the risk of COPD being misdiagnosed or undiagnosed
- Untreated COPD can result in secondary polycythemia
- Generally, the later the diagnosis and treatment of COPD, the poorer the survival rate
- Studies show that periodontal disease may play a role in the development of COPD as the bacteria associated with the oral condition may travel to the lungs and cause damaging infection and inflammation
- Poor nutrition and low birth weight are also believed to be risk factors for developing COPD. A low birth weight may indicate poor nutrition during the fetal stage which results in reduced lung functioning. Poor nutrition can also impact on lung function and cause damage which can result in COPD
- Frequent lower respiratory tract infection during the childhood years can also increase the risk of COPD
- Undiagnosed and untreated COPD can lead to recurring, serious chest infections, irregular heartbeat, cor pulmonale, increased blood count and in severe cases, respiratory failure
- The damage caused by emphysema in COPD is irreversible whereas the damage caused by chronic bronchitis in COPD is reversible to some degree
- Damage to the lungs has already occurred by the time symptoms appear
Notes On Hidden Causes Of COPD
The following may be hidden causes of COPD:
- Smoking is the main secondary cause of COPD
- Other causes of COPD include cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, airway infection, bronchial hyper responsiveness, bronciectasis and genetic predisposition
- COPD can also be caused by occupations involving cadmium, silica and other dusts. Dusts can be caused in mining and grain industries. Fumes and respiratory irritants may also be causal factors
- Fire-fighters face an increased risk of developing COPD
- Allergies and asthma can eventually develop into COPD
- In developing countries, inhalation of smoke while using biomass fuels for heating and cooking in poorly ventilated areas can lead to COPD
- Genetic susceptibility plays an important role in the development of COPD a many heavy smokers won't develop COPD whereas some light smokers will
- Air pollution may increase the death rate in COPD sufferers
- Secondary smoke is often a hidden cause of COPD
Notes On Wrong Diagnosis Of COPD
Wrong diagnosis of COPD may be associated with the following:
- COPD is often misdiagnosed as asthma as they share similar symptoms - e.g. wheezing. Misdiagnosis of the condition leads to inappropriate treatment which can lead to further progression of COPD.
- COPD is often misdiagnosed because it usually involves the overlap of several other respiratory conditions - emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma.
Complications Of Misdiagnosis Of COPD
The following may be complications of misdiagnosis of COPD:
- Coughing caused by COPD may be misdiagnosed as smoker's cough, asthmatic cough, tuberculosis, pneumonia, asthma, respiratory irritations, aspiration or inhalation of cold air
- Sputum production due to COPD may be misdiagnosed as chronic bronchitis, smoker's cough, bronchiectasis, bronchoalveolar carcinoma, pneumonia, tuberculosis, lung abscess and pulmonary edema
- Shortness of breath due to COPD may be misdiagnosed as anemia, pulmonary edema, chronic heart failure, cystic fibrosis, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and pneumonia
- Cyanosis due to COPD may be misdiagnosed as pulmonary hypoventilation
Other Notes On Misdiagnosis Of COPD
- Respiratory infections in COPD patients are generally more severe and debilitating
- COPD sufferers need to obtain medical advice when flying as they may require an additional oxygen supply to cope with drop in cabin pressure
- Severe shortness of breath or swelling in the lower limbs may be a sign of congestive heart failure in COPD patients
Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of COPD:
The following medical news items
are relevant to misdiagnosis of COPD:
Misdiagnosis and COPD deaths
COPD is a condition
that can possibly be deadly if misdiagnosed...more »
General Misdiagnosis Articles
Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.
When checking for a misdiagnosis of COPD
or confirming a diagnosis of COPD,
it is useful to consider what other
medical conditions might be possible misdiagnoses or other alternative
conditions relevant to diagnosis.
These alternate diagnoses of COPD may already have
been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible
alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of COPD.
For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases,
see Overview of Misdiagnosis.
» Next page: Undiagnosed COPD
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