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The misdiagnosis of fibromyalgia

Some Pennsylvania patients who are told they have fibromyalgia might be misdiagnosed. A doctor might diagnose fibromyalgia when a patient has nonspecific pain even though the pain might be related to other conditions.

When such a patient visits a doctor, the practitioner should rule out a number of conditions that can also cause pain. These include Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune connective tissue disorders and even cancer. As a result, doctors should look at red and white blood cell counts, standard blood chemistry and thyroid function among other tests. People suffering from disc degeneration or pinched nerves might also suffer from similar symptoms.

In particular, older patients suffering from arthritis and myofascial problems may visit a doctor with a complaint of pain and fatigue. This might also be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia. In some cases, a physical therapist or a massage professional might be able to relieve some of this pain.

A failure to diagnose a disease can result in patients not getting the treatment they need. This could cause illness, a serious setback or even death. If a patient or their family wanted to file a lawsuit, the court would look at whether or not the misdiagnosis constituted medical malpractice. If the medical professional made a reasonable assessment based on the tests and observations that most doctors would do, it might not count as malpractice. However, tests might be misinterpreted or symptoms ignored. A doctor might dismiss a patient's symptoms because they do not fit the usual profile of an individual with that condition. For example, for nonspecific pain and fatigue, a doctor might dismiss a patient's symptoms as psychological or not serious. People who have been harmed in this manner may want to discuss their situation with an attorney prior to making a decision.

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