Health

The Most Commonly Misdiagnosed Medical Conditions

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Is Misdiagnosed as an Ulcer Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder in which stomach acid flows into the esophagus. GERD is… Aisha Abdullah - April 14, 2023
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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Is Misdiagnosed as an Ulcer

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder in which stomach acid flows into the esophagus. GERD is characterized by chronic acid reflux, a weakening of the muscle at the entry of the stomach that closes to prevent stomach acid from rising into the esophagus. The most common symptoms of GERD are heartburn, vomiting, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and a feeling of tightness or pain in the throat. The chest pain associated with GERD can cause the disease to be mistaken for heart issues, including angina and heart attacks.

GERD is most commonly misdiagnosed as a digestive or intestinal condition. Heartburn and vomiting are symptoms of gallbladder issues. Stomach issues can mimic the symptoms of GERD. Hernias occur when part of there is a weakness in the muscles surrounding the abdomen. When part of the stomach pushes through a hernia, it can cause acid reflux and heartburn. Similarly, stomach ulcers, sores that form on the stomach lining, can cause burning pain and nausea that mirrors signs of GERD. Diseases affecting the esophagus, including inflammation and cancer, may also be mistaken for GERD.

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Celiac Disease Is Misdiagnosed in Up to 97% of Cases

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that affects the intestines and makes people intolerant to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, they have a severe immune reaction that causes inflammation of the small intestine’s lining. This inflammation results in bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Untreated or poorly managed celiac disease can damage the small intestine and cause poor absorption of nutrients from food. Celiac disease is also associated with an increased risk of certain cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The disease is usually managed by maintaining a strict gluten-free diet.

People with undiagnosed or misdiagnosed celiac disease often suffer for years and risk developing serious complications. Although the public is more aware of celiac disease, the condition is still frequently misdiagnosed as other inflammatory or digestive diseases. By some estimates, celiac disease is misdiagnosed in 97 percent of cases. The disease is commonly mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, cystic fibrosis, gallbladder bladder disease, and Crohn’s disease.

Where Do We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

One in 10 People With Any of These 3 Serious Conditions Will Be Misdiagnosed, a New Study Says—Here’s Why

6 Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions in Women

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15 Conditions That Are Hard to Diagnose

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