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Misdiagnosis of Hypertension

Misdiagnosis of Hypertension

A diagnosis of hypertension begins with taking a thorough health history, including symptoms, and performing a physical exam that includes blood pressure monitoring. A diagnosis of hypertension may be overlooked or delayed because in its early stages there generally are no symptoms until complications arise.

When there are symptoms, such as headache or nosebleed, they can easily be ignored and written off as "just a headache" or "just a nosebleed". Some people with hypertension may also delay or not comply with treatment because they 'feel fine". Because of this lack of symptoms, regular medical care is vital to monitoring blood pressure and promptly treating hypertension if it occurs before serious complications result....more about Hypertension »

Alternative diagnoses list for Hypertension:

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

Diseases for which Hypertension may be an alternative diagnosis

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

Hypertension: Hidden Causes Misdiagnosed?

Causes of Hypertension may include these medical conditions:

Rare Types of Hypertension:

Hypertension: Medical Mistakes

Related medical mistakes may include:

Hypertension: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:

Common Misdiagnoses and Hypertension

Metabolic syndrome often undiagnosed: Metabolic syndrome, also known as Syndrome X, is an often overlooked medical condition that causes a cluster of chronic symptoms. There are often four symptoms and conditions combined: obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, and diabetes (Type 2 diabetes) or in come cases pre-diabetes initially. See the introduction to metabolic syndrome.

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 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.

Over-diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension in obese patients: A diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension, particularly pulmonary arterial hypertension, is often a misdiagnosis in obese patients. Exertional dyspnea leads to a diagnostic reading of high right ventricular systolic pressure, which seems to indicate pulmonary hypertension, but is ultimately found to be an incorrect diagnosis. See misdiagnosis of pulmonary hypertension.

Obesity-related conditions undiagnosed in children: A variety of conditions are associated with obesity (see obesity), but these tend to be undiagnosed more often in child patients than in adults. Some of the overlooked conditions may include hypertension, diabetes, acanthosis nigricans, etc. See misdiagnosis of obesity or introduction to obesity.

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.

Hypertension: Rare Types

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

Failure To Diagnose Hypertension

Failure to diagnose Hypertension may be associated with the following:

  • Undiagnosed hypertension can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and arterial aneurysm
  • Undiagnosed hypertension can lead to kidney damage or failure, brain damage, arteriosclerosis and aortic dissection
  • Undiagnosed hypertension can lead to damage to the retina (hypertensive retinopathy) and vision loss
  • Undiagnosed severe hypertension can result in death within a matter of years unless it is treated. Severe hypertension is considered as blood pressure that is at least 50% greater than the average
  • Undiagnosed hypertension can result in complications such as malignant hypertension where the blood pressure inside the skull increases also
  • Undiagnosed high blood pressure during pregnancy can lead to complications such as pre-eclampsia, HELLP syndrome and eclampsia
  • Hypertension often causes no symptoms until it is severe and regular checkups can allow a timely diagnosis

Notes On Hidden Causes Of Hypertension

The following may be hidden causes of Hypertension:

  • Causes of secondary hypertension: atheroma, fibromuscular dysplasia, renal emboli, renal artery thrombosis, Polycystic kidneys, scleroderma, analgesic nephropathy, gouty nephropathy, heavy metal poisoning, inborn errors of adrenal steroid metabolism (17 alpha-hydroxylase deficiency 11 beta-hydroxylase deficiency), Liddle's syndrome, myxoedema, increased intracranial pressure and iatrogenic
  • Secondary hypertension can be caused by kidney disease, certain tumors, adrenal gland tumors, primary aldosteronism, Cushing's syndrome, coarctation of the aorta, cocaine use, kidney inflammation, narrowed kidney arteries, migraine medications, haemolytic-uremic syndrome, Henoch-Schonlein purpura, periarteritis nodosa, pregnancy, radiation enteritis, Wilms' tumor, retroperitoneal fibrosis and pheochromocytoma
  • Primary hypertension has no specific cause but certain factors may contribute to an increased blood pressure: insulin resistance, genetic predisposition, age, renin homeostasis and salt sensitivity
  • Pain can cause hypertension
  • Sleep apnea can be a hidden cause of hypertension
  • Increased age usually involves less elastic arteries which can contribute to high blood pressure
  • Certain medications can increase blood pressure: NSAIDS, steroids, certain nasal drops, certain nasal sprays, certain cough medicines, certain eye drops, certain appetite suppressants and contraception
  • The excessive consumption of licorice can result in an increase in blood pressure
  • Some studies indicate that poor alignment of a part of the spine called that atlas vertebrae can result in an increase in blood pressure
  • High alcohol, high salt diet, lack of exercise, obesity and stress consumption can contribute to high blood pressure
  • Smoking, high fat diet, high blood cholesterol and diabetes can exacerbate hypertension

Other Notes On Misdiagnosis Of Hypertension

  • Hypertension measurement classification:
  • Systolic blood pressure is >140 mmHg - hypertension
  • Diastolic blood pressure is >90 mmHg - hypertension
  • Systolic blood pressure is 120-139 mmHg - prehypertension
  • Diastolic blood pressure is 80-89 mmHg - prehypertension
  • Systolic blood pressure is <120 mmHg - normal
  • Diastolic blood pressure is <80 mmHg - normal
  • Some studies indicate that a healthy blood pressure reading should actually be 115/75 mmHg or lower
  • Blood pressures over 130/80 mmHg is considered high in people with diabetes mellitus or kidney disease
  • Because blood pressure fluctuates so readily, it is recommended that blood pressure measurements be taken at least three times with each reading being at least one week apart
  • An ophthalmoscopic examination of the retina can reveal swelling of the eye nerve caused by hypertension
  • Small retinal hemorrhages can be caused by high blood pressure
  • Any patient taking blood pressure medication should not make any sudden changes unless speaking to their doctor first
  • Certain races face a greater risk of hypertension e.g. African Americans

Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of Hypertension:

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

Misdiagnosis and Hypertension deaths

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


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