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Articles » Misdiagnosis » Never Seeking Medical Advice

Never Seeking Medical Advice

There are various conditions where a person never actually seeks medical advice or visits a doctor. Clearly, the doctor is not performing a misdiagnosis, but in some cases the patient may be.

This situation occurs mostly for medical conditions where a person has no symptoms or only mild symptoms. Hence, the patient simply is unaware of any problem and has no reason to seek medical advice. There are numerous conditions that tend to be under-diagnosed because of their lack of symptoms and insidious onset including high cholesterol, hypertension (the "silent killer"), diabetes (millions of undiagnosed people), and numerous other conditions.

In some cases, the patient is aware of symptoms but puts up with them and defers visiting a doctor. The person might be too embarrassed to raise the issue, such as for STDs, fecal incontinence, or certain anxiety conditions. The person might also be fearful of a bad diagnosis and avoid medical advice as a form of denial. For example, a person with unexplained weight loss might be fearful of a cancer diagnosis, when in fact there are dozens of other possibilities.

In certain cases, a person fails to seek medical advice because they have misdiagnosed their own condition. For example, people often self-diagnose and self-treat common complaints such as headache or a common cold. Although many headaches are just that, there are naturally also numerous other possible underlying conditions causing headache. Any headache that is persistent, extreme, or fails to respond to treatment needs prompt medical attention.

Similarly, many people will self-diagnose a common cold and self-treat using over-the-counter symptomatic medications. In many cases, this is the correct action, but in some cases the person fails to identify an alternative diagnosis correctly. A severe cold might be flu or even food poisoning (or other causes of fever); a cold that lasts too long might actually be sinusitis or allergies; and a cough that lasts might be whooping cough, asthma, or numerous other causes.


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