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Failure to diagnose multiple sclerosis common, survey says

It is frustrating being sick, but having a doctor misdiagnose an illness can make matters worse. But, occasionally, Charlestonians can spend years suffering from an illness before receiving a proper diagnosis. Misdiagnoses can derail a person's health, so it is important to address them, particularly when it comes to a serious illness, such as multiple sclerosis.

According to one survey of over 5,300 people with multiple sclerosis (MS), many have a difficult time getting a correct diagnosis and proper treatment. Nearly half of those surveyed stated that they had to see a physician over five times before they were properly diagnosed.

Over 40 percent of those surveyed stated that they were initially misdiagnosed as having other diseases, such as fibromyalgia, migraines headaches or depression. Once diagnosed, however, 65 percent of those surveyed stated that they received treatment within three months. It could take years before a person suffering from MS finds the best course of treatment for them.

According to one patient advocate, part of the problem lies with inexperienced doctors. Many symptoms of MS are "invisible," meaning that those who suffer from them do not realize that MS could be the underlying cause of their symptoms. According to one professional, the survey demonstrates the struggle MS patients have with their illness.

Not only can the failure to diagnose a medical condition result in a person continuing to suffer from a disease, but in some cases, it could actually lead to a worsened condition. Those who believe that their illness was misdiagnosed and they suffered damages because of it may want to determine whether they can file a lawsuit against the appropriate parties.

Source: Multiple Sclerosis News Today, "MS Patients Struggle with Misdiagnosis and Ineffective Treatments, Survey Finds," Carolina Henriques, May 1, 2017

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