As many rare disease sufferers know, sometimes the key symptom that leads to a diagnosis may be mundane or bizarre. Whether you are healthy or chronically ill, daily life is full of other concerns to distract you from the seemingly harmless quirks of your body. Many of these strange ailments are completely benign or explained by something you had not considered, but some may be a message from your body that something is wrong.
Keep in mind that most of these symptoms may occur periodically in any person’s life and are easily explained by other causes. If your symptom becomes severe, seek medical attention immediately. If you are experiencing other health issues, however, you may want to mention your strange symptom to your doctor. It could be another clue in finding the right diagnosis.
Continue reading 7 Strange Symptoms You Shouldn’t Overlook
There was a time in history when nearly every medical condition recognized today was an unidentified mystery. Rabies victims in Europe inspired stories of the holy water-fearing undead and citizens of Salem suffering from Ergot poisoning were hanged for witchcraft, long before medicine had a name and a treatment for either malady. As medical research and happy scientific accidents led to discoveries like Germ Theory and penicillin, our ability to identify and address common health concerns grew.
Although we have come a long way since the days of humor balancing and unnecessary bloodlettings, there is still a lot that the healthcare field doesn’t know about the complexity of the human body or its response to our ever-changing environment. In fact, some of the conditions that we would never second guess today were dismissed by the medical community less than a century ago. A few of them may surprise you.
Continue reading 5 Diseases Modern Medicine Missed For A Very Long Time
It’s no secret that a staggering number of Americans experience chronic fatigue.
But at what point is ongoing fatigue considered a disease? Here we will explore the diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and discuss several truths and myths about the condition.
Continue reading Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Tricky But Real Diagnosis
Lupus: The Basics
Inside nearly every human body, there exists a vast expanse of cells that fight infection. Like a tiny army, it descends upon foreign invaders and swiftly eliminates the threat. It most cases, it’s a system that works well. In some cases, however, a significant problem arises.
Lupus, occurs when the human immune system destroys infection as well as health tissue and organs. As a result, patients will experience ongoing pain, inflammation, and malfunction throughout the body (Understanding, 2015).
One of the most distinct symptoms of lupus is a persistent rash across the nose and cheeks called a butterfly rash. There are also a host of other symptoms including debilitating fatigue, headaches, fever, pain and swelling on the joints, chest pain, hair loss, and ulcers of the nose and mouth (Diagnosing, 2015).
Continue reading Diagnosis Spotlight: Lupus
A new phenomenon is rising in prominence in the public discussion of health. Despite the significant improvement in clinical procedures, a small but important part of the population evades an easy diagnosis. Often referred to as Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms (MUPS or sometimes MUS), patients who suffer from these clusters of seemingly unrelated complaints stump general practitioners and specialists alike.
On average, U.S. patients with rare undiagnosed or misdiagnosed conditions wait a little over 7 years for a diagnosis. The longer a patient waits for an answer to their medical mystery, the more uncertain they feel about not only their health, but also their future. As time goes on and the uncertainty grows, the chronically undiagnosed start to believe that those around them are skeptical that their illness exists. Eventually even they start to question, “Is it all in my head?”
Continue reading What To Do When The Doctor Says “It’s All In Your Head”
Lyme disease can present with a wide range of symptoms, resulting in frequent misdiagnosis. The most common presentation includes fever, fatigue, headache, and a bull-eye rash at the location of infection, but as many as half of infected individuals never report a rash and present with other symptoms.
And, you may be surprised to hear that the most diagnosed illness on CrowdMed is Lyme disease. The issue of misdiagnosing and not even arriving at a diagnosis at all when someone has Lyme disease is clearly a problem.
EDITOR UPDATE: Several readers pointed out some outdated information referenced in the original overview. There’s nothing worse for patients than trying to fight prevailing “wisdom” in the medical community, which simply isn’t true anymore. We’ve updated this post accordingly. By the way, we’ll also soon be publishing an article by one of our patients, highlighting her personal experience and frustration with Lyme disease. Stay tuned!
Continue reading Facts About Lyme Disease: The Misunderstood Condition
When searching for a cure for an uncommon disease, doctors and medical detectives are confronted with a difficult knowledge problem. The correct answer is out there, but it’s likely known only to a handful of people, dispersed among a lot of people who haven’t a clue, or worse, have the incorrect diagnosis. How can we separate the knowledgeable from the clueless? The solution might have a lot to do with balloons.
Continue reading What Balloons Can Teach Us About Crowdsourcing Medicine
Note: this will be the first in a three-part series about addressing the new world of knowledge about genetic disorders. This first post will be about assessing the chances that we may be at risk for a genetic disease. Future posts will address what we can do with this knowledge.
We live in a relatively new era of medicine in which the genome is sequenced, and we are learning more each year about what genes do and how they might be related to disease. As physicians become more aware of the genetic links between patients and their diseases, patients can and should arm themselves with the knowledge they need to manage this new age of information.
I’d like to discuss a few hallmark features that might be present in your family history which could indicate a genetic disorder in your family. As with approaching the rest of your healthcare needs, knowledge is power!
Continue reading Are You At Risk For A Genetic Disorder?
As the measles virus makes its way back from the brink of extinction, the public sphere has been flooded by heated arguments for both sides of the vaccination debate. For what seems to be the majority of Americans, this is a battle between science and irrationality. Yet amid the media hype and angry rhetoric an interesting theme has emerged in the outbreak’s narrative. In defending themselves through interviews, discussion forums, and even the mouthpiece of political candidates, many parents claimed that trust was at the heart of their decision not to vaccinate. How could they trust that the government, the CDC, or even their family doctor know what is best for their child?
Continue reading The Vaccination Debate Isn’t About Science: It’s About Trust
I have always been skeptical of the gluten-free craze. I understand the importance of eliminating gluten products in patients with true gluten allergies, but in the past handful of years, the gluten-free diet has gained a cult-like following. Once known simply as the treatment for patients with Celiac disease, gluten-free diets are now being touted as the solution to every ailment known to mankind, ranging from brain fog to obesity. Will this diet maintain a following for the long haul, or will it fade into relative obscurity, joining the leagues of the Atkins or South Beach diets? Only time can tell, but meanwhile, let’s take this opportunity to sort out the myths from reality.
Continue reading Are Gluten-Free Diets Good For Us?