How seniors can avoid misdiagnosis

An old joke goes, aging is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. However, it matters very much when aging gets in the way of an accurate diagnosis. Seniors are misdiagnosed more often than younger adults and can be harmed more by it than younger bodies are. While it is estimated that everyone will experience at least one diagnostic error in their lifetime, experts believe it happens more frequently for older patients. The barriers to getting properly diagnosed can occur at any age but they tend to worsen as the patient gets older (and some seniors joke, as the doctor gets comparatively younger).

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This winter, COVID-19 is not your only health concern

As you read this, COVID-19 may be spiking in your community for the second or third time. Perhaps your hospitals are overwhelmed with patients and have stopped elective surgeries. Restaurants and gyms and all but essential stores may be closing, again. The news is filled with scary headlines. You have every reason to want to limit your exposure. COVID-19 may be scary but ten more months of avoiding your doctor may be worse.

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COVID-19 testing is confusing. What you need to know now.

The world’s been turned upside down due to COVID-19. Any virus can be a complicated creature, especially when a new one pops up. And because medical experts are learning as they go, and sharing what they learn with the rest of us, it can sometimes feel like we’re standing on shifting sands as the tide is rising.

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Why the Color of Your Skin Can Affect the Quality of Your Diagnosis

When we are in need of medical attention, we come expecting to be helped by experts with care. Patients of color in America have learned to check their expectations at the door and replace them with unanchored hope.

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How to know if your diagnosis is right or wrong

Perhaps you’ve recently visited your healthcare professional because you’ve had symptoms that concerned you. You’ve been examined, perhaps your blood or urine was tested, or imaging tests were run. Finally, after several steps, your doctor diagnosed you and gave you a treatment plan. If the treatment works, then perhaps the diagnosis was correct and you are on the right track. If the therapy doesn’t work, it could be a misdiagnosis or something else.

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Medical testing’s dirty little secret and how you can protect yourself

Medical testing should only happen after a complete history is taken and a physical exam is given. It can be an essential step in getting properly diagnosed. Though the vast majority of tests are conducted correctly, and reported quickly and accurately to the healthcare professional and the patient, understanding how the testing process can and does go wrong can give you an opportunity to protect yourself.

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Feeling Dismissed and Ignored by Your Doctor? Do this.

Trust is an essential part of healthcare. When we feel poorly, we visit our doctor with our hopes high, trusting that she will help us heal. We bring her our concerns, our list of symptoms, our history, and our questions. In exchange, we expect answers, or at the very least an effort to find answers.

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Ask these key questions when you get a diagnosis

It can be intimidating to sit with your primary care physician after he has listened to your input and examined you in your paper gown. Perhaps your heart is beating a bit fast as you wait for his pronouncement of what is causing your symptoms. What can it be? Is it serious?

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Sitting in your doctor’s office? Do this to help get the right diagnosis

Time is not just measured by seconds or minutes in a medical practice. It seems to drag on while we’re in the waiting room and zip past us when we’re finally face-to-face with the doctor. But you can make that time work for you, if you’re prepared. While the medical staff is focused on caring for another patient, here are some things you can do as the most important member of Diagnosis Team YOU.

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Top five things to do before you see your doctor

Welcome to Diagnosis Team YOU. Getting the right diagnosis is a team effort and you are the principal team member. This column shares what you can do before you see your doctor to help improve your chances of getting an accurate and timely diagnosis. These five steps are simple and practical and work for every body.

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Teen's brain tumor misdiagnosed as anxiety

Jennifer Mizrahi remembers the first phone call from her daughter telling her, “Chasin is panicking!” He was in a store with his dad and his older brother and sister, and suddenly the 12-year-old felt “strange and nervous.” Jennifer tried to reassure Chasin over the phone, telling him to take a deep breath and to drink some water. The whole episode lasted less than a minute and then he was fine. No one paid much attention to this incident; it was a one-time thing. Then it happened again a few months later.

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Why Your Child is More Likely to Be Misdiagnosed Than You Are

Most kids are healthy most of the time. Beyond the usual tumbles and falls, the boo-boos that can be healed with a kiss and a Band-Aid®, beyond the normal childhood illnesses that sweep through classrooms as if by the power of suggestion, kids do tend to be healthy. However, the mindset that young children are rarely seriously ill is one of the main reasons that they are more likely to be misdiagnosed than adults.

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Medicine's Biggest Blind Spot - Women's Bodies

What do these stories have in common? A “funny” pain in a neck is ignored until it’s almost too late. A physician treats a patient for anxiety but misses the signs of a failing heart valve. An issue with blood flow to the brain is misdiagnosed as major depression disorder. All of these patients have been trapped by medicine’s biggest blind spot: our lack of knowledge about how women’s bodies work.

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The most important medical issue ever: And why you need to know more about it

Diagnosis. It is the cause of what ails you. It’s the linchpin for the medicines you take, the treatments you get, and the surgeries you may have. Diagnosis is a process that involves many people and moving parts, but it begins with you. You are the central member of a team of experts working to identify what is causing your symptoms.

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About the Dx IQ Column

Getting it right is so important, and not always easy to do. That’s why the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) is sharing this series of columns.

Our goal is to help you understand how important your role is. We want you to be informed and well prepared for every kind of medical interaction that leads to a diagnosis.

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