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Misdiagnosis of Hemochromatosis

Misdiagnosis of Hemochromatosis

A diagnosis of hemochromatosis may be overlooked or delayed because hemochromatosis is common, but is generally not screened for on a routine physical or office visit. In addition, symptoms generally do not appear until middle age and can be nonspecific and common symptoms of many other conditions. These include aging, menopause, perimenopause, chronic fatigue syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis or over exercising. Because of the similarity to symptoms of these and other conditions, it is important that people with symptoms of hemochromatosis seek prompt medical care. Early diagnosis and treatment is also vital to effective treatment and prevention of serious complications....more about Hemochromatosis »

Hemochromatosis misdiagnosis: Hemochromatosis was cited by Reader's Digest as one of the top 10 misdiagnosed diseases. In the article entitled "10 Diseases Doctors Miss", the 10 diseases mentioned were hepatitis C, lupus, celiac disease, hemochromatosis, aneurysm, Lyme disease, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), chlamydia, and sleep apnea. 1...more about Hemochromatosis »

Alternative diagnoses list for Hemochromatosis:

For a diagnosis of Hemochromatosis, the following list of conditions have been mentioned in sources as possible alternative diagnoses to consider during the diagnostic process for Hemochromatosis:

Diseases for which Hemochromatosis may be an alternative diagnosis

The other diseases for which Hemochromatosis is listed as a possible alternative diagnosis in their lists include:

Hemochromatosis: Hidden Causes Misdiagnosed?

Causes of Hemochromatosis may include these medical conditions:

Hemochromatosis: Medical Mistakes

Related medical mistakes may include:

Hemochromatosis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:

Discussion of diagnosis/misdiagnosis of Hemochromatosis:

Hemochromatosis is often undiagnosed and untreated. It is considered rare and doctors may not think to test for it. The initial symptoms can be diverse and vague and can mimic the symptoms of many other diseases. Also, doctors may focus on the conditions caused by hemochromatosis--arthritis, liver disease, heart disease, or diabetes--rather than on the underlying iron overload. However, if hemochromatosis is diagnosed and treated before organ damage has occurred, a person can live a normal, healthy life. (Source: excerpt from Hemochromatosis: NIDDK)

Common Misdiagnoses and Hemochromatosis

Heart attacks can be undiagnosed: Although the most severe symptoms of heart attack are hard to miss, there are varying degrees of severity. It is altogether too common for people to die from undiagnosed heart attack, or from delaying too long to call for emergency help. The prognosis for treatment is far better for patients treated in the early stages of a heart attack. The most common misdiagnoses include heartburn, or other less severe causes of chest pain. See the introduction to heart attack and the symptoms of heart attack.

Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also many cases where people fear that they have a heart attack, but actually have something milder. Some of the conditions which may be causes of chest pain, causing fear of a heart attack, including an anxiety attack, heartburn, and so on. See the causes of chest pain and the symptoms of heart attack.

Unnecessary hysterectomies due to undiagnosed bleeding disorder in women: The bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand's disease is quite common in women, but often fails to be correctly diagnosed. Women with the condition tend to have heavy periods, since they actually have a bleeding disorder. Severe afflictions may result in the women receiving a hysterectomy unnecessarily, when the underlying cause has not been identified. See the introduction to Von Willebrand's disease and bleeding disorder.

Rare undiagnosed iron disorder causes various severe conditions: The rare "iron overload" disorder, hemochromatosis, can cause a variety of symptoms and result in various severe conditions that mimic several of the big name medical conditions. However, since it is quite rare (about 1 in 200 to 1 in 300), it may go undiagnosed, and indeed doctors may not even test for it. It can damage the pancreas, causing pancreatitis, leading to diabetes-like symptoms. It can damage the liver, leading to liver symptoms such as jaundice. Hemochromoatis can also damage the joints, giving the appearance of arthritis. The heart is another organ that excess iron can damage. Fortunately, this condition has a relatively simple treatment, and these complications can often be reversed by treatment of the iron overload causing them. See introduction to hemochromatosis.

Rare heart condition often undiagnosed: The rare heart condition called long QT syndrome can lead to episodes of palpitations and rapid heartbeat. In rare cases, this undiagnosed condition can be fatal. It should be considered for any unexplained heart rhythm abnormality.

Heart attack can be over-diagnosed: Although heart attack is often undiagnosed, leading to fatality, it can also be over-diagnosed. People become concerned that a condition is a heart attack, whereas there are various less dangerous possibilities. After all, there are numerous causes of chest pain. Some of the common conditions where a person may become concerned about a possible heart attack include a panic attack (which often has both chest pain and difficulty breathing), and heartburn/reflux type conditions. Nevertheless, chest pain itself can be a potentially life-threatening symptoms, and needs immediate professional attention.

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" around the arm to measure blood pressure can simply be too small to accurately test a child's blood pressure. This can lead to an incorrect diagnosis of a child with hypertension. The problem even has a name unofficially: "small cuff syndrome". See misdiagnosis of hypertension.

Chronic liver disease often undiagnosed: One study reported that 50% of patients with a chronic liver disease remain undiagnosed by their primary physician. The reasons are multifactorial. Possible conditions include chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, hemochromatosis, or other types of liver condition. See introduction to liver disease or misdiagnosis of liver disease.

Hypertension misdiagnosis common in children: Hypertension is often misdiagnosed in adults (see misdiagnosis of hypertension), but its misdiagnosis is even more likely in children. Some of the symptoms of hypertension that can be overlooked include chest pain, headaches, abdominal pain, etc. See symptoms of hypertension or misdiagnosis of hypertension.

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple sclerosis). See symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency or misdiagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

Hemochromatosis: Rare Types

Rare types of medical disorders and diseases in related medical areas:

Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of Hemochromatosis:

The following medical news items are relevant to misdiagnosis of Hemochromatosis:

Misdiagnosis and Hemochromatosis deaths

Hemochromatosis is a condition that can possibly be deadly if misdiagnosed...more »

General Misdiagnosis Articles

Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.

About misdiagnosis:

When checking for a misdiagnosis of Hemochromatosis or confirming a diagnosis of Hemochromatosis, it is useful to consider what other medical conditions might be possible misdiagnoses or other alternative conditions relevant to diagnosis. These alternate diagnoses of Hemochromatosis may already have been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of Hemochromatosis. For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases, see Overview of Misdiagnosis.



Footnotes:
1. Reader's Digest, February 2004, "10 Diseases Doctors Miss", page 120
 

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