Many patients are frustrated by the fact that they cannot seem to get a diagnosis, a name for their medical problem. They experience symptoms, they accumulate test results, they can't find relief, and they often become angry because it's very clear that something is wrong with their health, but no one can provide a name for their problem. It's a mystery.
If you have been undiagnosed for any period of time, here are some ideas and approaches that may help you and your doctor determine a diagnosis.
A few basics to keep in mind before you begin:
- Keep in mind that not every set of symptoms has a diagnosis.
- Further keep in mind that some diagnoses are so new that some doctors don't know how to diagnose them yet.
- Your diagnosis detective work will require that you employ all those good, empowered patients' tools: be sure you ask plenty of questions, get copies of all your medical records, adhere to decisions you and your doctor make together, and more.
Once you embrace those basics, then here are some approaches that may help you solve your diagnosis dilemma:
- Pursue Second Opinions
- Develop Your Differential Diagnosis
- Log Your Symptoms and Triggers
- Uncover Possible Drug Conflicts
- Consider Environmental Sources
- Coordinate Communication
- Consider Rare Diseases
- Look Into the NIH's Mystery Diagnosis Program
- Consider Alternative Resources
- Do You Know of Other Possibilities?