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Misdiagnosis of Heart disease

Heart disease: Misdiagnosis

Early diagnosis and treatment of heart disease is vital to preventing serious, even life threatening complications, such as cardiac arrest and death.

A diagnosis of heart disease may be overlooked or delayed because there may be no symptoms in some forms of heart disease, such as atherosclerosis, especially in early stages. Regular medical care is the best way to detect heart disease in its earliest stage before it leads to advanced heart disease and critical complications.

Some symptoms of heart disease can be vague or similar to symptoms of many other conditions. These types of symptoms can include weakness, cough, fatigue, dizziness, backache, indigestion, sweating, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms may be attributed to other less serious conditions, such as anxiety, GERD, gallstones, muscle aches, aging, or influenza.

Heart disease: Related Misdiagnoses

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Heart disease: Possibly Deadly Misdiagnoses

Some of the causes, which may potentially be dangerous or fatal if left undiagnosed, may include:

More about Misdiagnosis

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Heart disease:

The following list of conditions have 'Heart disease' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Heart disease or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Heart disease:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Heart disease' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.

 

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