Question and answer
Heart attacks can be undiagnosed: Although the most severe symptoms of heart attack are hard to miss,
there are varying degrees of severity.
It is altogether too common for people to die from undiagnosed heart attack, or from delaying too long
to call for emergency help.
The prognosis for treatment is far better for patients treated in the early stages of a heart attack.
The most common misdiagnoses include heartburn, or other less severe causes of chest pain.
See the introduction to heart attack and the symptoms of heart attack.
Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also
many cases where people fear that they have a heart attack, but actually have something milder.
Some of the conditions which may be causes of chest pain, causing fear of a heart attack, including
an anxiety attack, heartburn, and so on.
See the causes of chest pain and the symptoms of heart attack.
Rare heart condition often undiagnosed: The rare heart condition called long QT syndrome can lead to episodes of palpitations
and rapid heartbeat.
In rare cases, this undiagnosed condition can be fatal.
It should be considered for any unexplained heart rhythm abnormality.
Heart attack can be over-diagnosed: Although heart attack is often undiagnosed,
leading to fatality, it can also be over-diagnosed.
People become concerned that a condition is a heart attack,
whereas there are various less dangerous possibilities.
After all, there are numerous causes of chest pain.
Some of the common conditions where a person may become concerned
about a possible heart attack include a panic attack (which often has
both chest pain and difficulty breathing), and heartburn/reflux type conditions.
Nevertheless, chest pain itself can be a potentially life-threatening symptoms,
and needs immediate professional attention.
Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue
with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure.
The "cuff" around the arm to measure blood pressure can simply be too small to accurately
test a child's blood pressure.
This can lead to an incorrect diagnosis of a child with hypertension.
The problem even has a name unofficially: "small cuff syndrome".
See misdiagnosis of hypertension.
Hypertension misdiagnosis common in children: Hypertension is often
misdiagnosed in adults (see misdiagnosis of hypertension), but its misdiagnosis is even more likely in children.
Some of the symptoms of hypertension that can be overlooked include chest pain, headaches, abdominal pain, etc.
See symptoms of hypertension or misdiagnosis of hypertension.
Chronic lung diseases hard to diagnose: Some of the chronic lung diseases
are difficult to diagnose.
Even the well-knowns conditions such as asthma or lung cancer often fail to be diagnosed early.
Some of the chronic lung diseases with diagnostic difficulties
include asthma (perhaps surprisingly), COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, mesothelioma,
smoker's cough, AIDS-related respiratory conditions (see AIDS), chronic pneumonia, and other respiratory diseases.
Rare possibilities include diseases like psittacosis (bird-related lung infection).
See other types of chronic lung diseases.