Medical Conditions

Updated: 9/6/2019

Sometimes patients think that making a medical diagnosis involves simply measuring vital signs, tallying symptoms, and choosing the corresponding illness or disease. However, many medical conditions can mimic each other, have similar signs or symptoms, or be just plain tricky to pinpoint. Read on for several medical diagnoses that may take some time to distinguish.

14. Appendicitis


Appendicitis refers to the inflammation and painful swelling of the appendix, a small pouch extending from the large intestine. An inflamed appendix requires prompt surgical removal. However, a quick diagnosis can be thwarted due to the difficulty in distinguishing appendicitis from other medical conditions. Medscape lists several conditions that may present with symptoms similar to those of appendicitis. They include Crohn’s disease, endometriosis, diverticulitis, and pancreatitis. Women of childbearing age are particularly at risk for misdiagnosis of appendicitis. This is due to the similarity of symptoms in pelvic inflammatory disease, gastroenteritis, and urinary tract infections.

13. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by overwhelming tiredness or lethargy that is not improved by adequate rest. Individuals suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome may find themselves too tired to engage in normal daily tasks and may even be unable to summon the energy to leave their homes. Chronic fatigue syndrome can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to those seen in infectious diseases like influenza, tuberculosis, or Lyme disease. Symptoms may also mimic those of neuroendocrine disorders like diabetes or Cushing’s disease. Bipolar disorder, anemia, and heavy metal exposure are just a few of the other diseases that can be confused with chronic fatigue syndrome.


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