Conditions that mimic lupus

by | Apr 23, 2021 | medical malpractice

A misdiagnosis is a form of medical malpractice in New Orleans, Louisiana, that occurs when a patient gets diagnosed with an incorrect condition. The incorrect diagnosis can cause the patient to take unneeded treatment while the real condition gets worse. A condition that often gets misdiagnosed is lupus because it mimics several conditions.

Lupus facts and statistics

One study found that over 40% of patients initially got misdiagnosed and 54% reported tests found nothing wrong with them. Stats also show patients don’t usually get a correct diagnosis for six years. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that happens when the body’s own defense system invades various tissues and organs.

Lupus may develop in the kidneys, joints, skin, and lungs, brain, and heart. A primary symptom is a butterfly rash, which forms on both cheeks and nose. Some other symptoms include dry eyes, fever, fatigue, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

Conditions similar to lupus that may cause misdiagnosis

Lupus may get initially diagnosed as a skin rash, such as rosacea, which has the rash associated with lupus is a common characteristic of rosacea. Other skin conditions that mimic lupus include eczema, psoriasis, and melasma. For some patients, the rash worsens in the sun, because lupus makes the skin extra sensitive to UV rays.

Fibromyalgia commonly includes symptoms of fatigue, headaches, and muscle pain. However, it does not classify as an autoimmune disease, but some symptoms can overlap. Patients may have both conditions at the same time, making diagnosis trickier.

Hypothyroidism, sometimes called Hashimoto’s disease, occurs when the immune system prevents the thyroid from making enough hormones. The condition can make a person feel tired, experience hair loss caused by a lower metabolism. To rule out hyperthyroidism, the doctor measures hormone levels with a blood test.

Doctors who don’t uphold a basic standard of care commit medical malpractice. However, errors don’t always mean malpractice, and the patient must prove their case. A lawyer may be able to help them get proof of negligence.