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Misdiagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Misdiagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome may be overlooked or delayed because it can is difficult to make a diagnosis. In addition, symptoms, such as joint pain, fatigue, headaches, sore throat, and tender lymph nodes can mimic symptoms of many other diseases and conditions. These include influenza, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, hypothyroidism, depression, upper respiratory infection, mononucleosis, somatoform disorder, and fibromyalgia....more about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome »

Alternative diagnoses list for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:

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

Diseases for which Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may be an alternative diagnosis

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

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Hidden Causes Misdiagnosed?

Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may include these medical conditions:

Rare Types of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Medical Mistakes

Related medical mistakes may include:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:

Common Misdiagnoses and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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.

Cluster of diseases with difficult diagnosis issues: There is a well-known list of medical conditions that are all somewhat difficult to diagnose, and all can present in a variety of different severities. Diseases in this group include multiple sclerosis, lupus, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, thyroid disorders (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism), chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes - all of these can have vague symptoms in their early presentations. Also, depression can have some symptoms similar to these conditions, and also the reverse, that many of these conditions can mimic depression and be misdiagnosed as depression.

Undiagnosed stroke leads to misdiagnosed aphasia: BBC News UK reported on a man who had been institutionalized and treated for mental illness because he suffered from sudden inability to speak. This was initially misdiagnosed as a "nervous breakdown" and other mental conditions. He was later diagnosed as having had a stroke, and suffering from aphasia (inability to speak), a well-known complication of stroke (or other brain conditions).

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.

RLS sleep disorder causing night-time leg sensations often misdiagnosed: A common but relatively unknown sleep-related disorder called Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is often misdiagnosed. The typical symptoms are night-time tingling, crawling, or burning sensations in the legs, with the irresistable urge to move the legs. This need for leg movement leads to tossing and turning, or getting up out of bed, all of which interferes with the ability to fall asleep. The sufferer then has the typical symptoms of sleep deprivation during the day: fatigue, tiredness, morning headaches, irritability, poor concentration and so on. This condition is sometimes misdiagnosed as other conditions such as ADHD, sleep disorders, other causes of insomnia, or other causes of leg tingling. Many patients also suffer from a related disorder called Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), which causes leg spasms or other jerky movements. See introduction to RLS or introduction to PLMD.

Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps, particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes. However, there are also various other causes. See causes of leg cramps or misdiagnosis of diabetes.

ADHD under-diagnosed in adults: Although the over-diagnoses of ADHD in children is a well-known controversy, the reverse side related to adults. Some adults can remain undiagnosed, and indeed the condition has usually been overlooked throughout childhood. There are as many as 8 million adults with ADHD in the USA (about 1 in 25 adults in the USA). See misdiagnosis of ADHD or symptoms of ADHD.

Bipolar disorder misdiagosed as various conditions by primary physicians: Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder) often fails to be diagnosed correctly by primary care physicians. Many patients with bipolar seek help from their physician, rather than a psychiatrist or psychologist. See misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Eating disorders under-diagnosed in men: The typical patient with an eating disorder is female. The result is that men with eating disorders often fail to be diagnosed or have a delayed diagnosis. See misdiagnosis of eating disorders or symptoms of eating disorders.

Depression undiagnosed in teenagers: Serious bouts of depression can be undiagnosed in teenagers. The "normal" moodiness of teenagers can cause severe medical depression to be overlooked. See misdiagnosis of depression or symptoms of depression.

Undiagnosed anxiety disorders related to depression: Patients with depression (see symptoms of depression) may also have undiagnosed anxiety disorders (see symptoms of anxiety disorders). Failure to diagnose these anxiety disorders may worsen the depression. See misdiagnosis of depression or misdiagnosis of anxiety disorders.

Pituitary conditions often undiagnosed cause of symptoms: There are a variety of symptoms that can be caused by a pituitary disorder (see symptoms of pituitary disorders). For example, fatigue, headache, weight gain, diabetes-like symptoms, and various other symptoms. Pituitary tumors and other similar conditions are not as rare as physicians tend to believe. See introduction to pituitary conditions.

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.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Rare Types

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

Failure To Diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Failure to diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may be associated with the following:

  • Some health professionals believe that chronic fatigue syndrome is a psychological condition because there are often no physical findings that can support the symptoms experienced. There is no test that can be used to conclusively diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome and it is usually the diagnosis given to a patient who has no other detectable cause for their symptoms such as fatigue
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome may be harder to diagnose in children and adolescents as they tend to present with symptoms such as anger, aggression, low self-esteem, behavioural problems and suicidal attitudes. Adults are more likely to present with depressive and fatigue symptoms. In fact, many people are unaware that children can suffer from CFS
  • CFS is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because its symptoms mimic those of so many other conditions ranging from infections and cancer to gastrointestinal disorders and psychiatric illnesses
  • The parents of a female teenager suffering from tiredness, sore bones and inability to think clearly may dismiss her symptoms as being caused by too many activities, menstrual problems, lack of vitamins and minerals or just a normal adjustment to hormonal changes associated with puberty. Thus children are often unable to take charge of their own health matters and parents are usually not familiar with CFS and hence don't even consider it when their child complains of symptoms. Many children are misdiagnosed with emotional or adjustment problems which often makes further investigations into the child's health unlikely. Children are often unable to explain their symptoms accurately and their symptoms can vary regularly which can make diagnosis more difficult. Sometimes children don't want to admit to their symptoms as they are embarrassed about them or feel somehow inferior. Yet other children with CFS have their low functioning level considered normal for them - especially since CFS symptoms tend to develop more slowly in children than adults.
  • Many patients feel intimidated by doctors and specialists and will not assert themselves if they feel they have not been diagnosed correctly
  • People who have a history of depression may have their CFS symptoms ignored or dismissed as being related to depression

Notes On Wrong Diagnosis Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Wrong diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may be associated with the following:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome is often diagnosed by excluding all other possible causes of symptoms which makes it a highly misdiagnosed condition. Diagnosis if further complicated by the fact that some conditions with similar symptoms such as fibromyalgia also have no diagnostic tests. Even to go through and exclude all the possible differential diagnoses can prove very costly and time-consuming and may still not shed much light on the condition
  • Symptoms such as muscle pain fatigue and mild depression may be caused by chronic fatigue syndrome or phosphate diabetes
  • Many CFS sufferers have signs of major depression or have experienced bouts of major depression which makes it a condition that is often misdiagnosed simply as depression and treated as such
  • Chronic fatigue may be caused by chronic fatigue syndrome as well as a multitude of other conditions including sleep disorders, fibromyalgia, vitamin deficiencies, depression and hypothyroidism. However, some patients suffering from chronic fatigue are being misdiagnosed as having chronic fatigue syndrome when there is another underlying cause of their fatigue such as a sleep disorder or a viral infection
  • Certain drugs such as lithium and recreational drugs may be an underlying cause of chronic fatigue

Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:

The following medical news items are relevant to misdiagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:

General Misdiagnosis Articles

Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.

About misdiagnosis:

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


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