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What causes doctors to misdiagnose strokes?

A doctor misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose you with a disease or ailment that you have could be dangerous to your health. You may need timely treatment to deal with a potentially life-threatening situation such as a stroke. If you suffer a mild stroke, you should know what has happened to you so you can take action to prevent a possibly deadlier occurrence.

It may seem odd that doctors would fail to diagnose a stroke. According to Health.com, there are some reasons why health care providers might not determine that someone has had a stroke.

No obvious signs of strokes

When a person suffers a stroke, there are generally observable signs of it. A person may suffer disorientation or memory loss or have problems with speech. Stroke sufferers also tend to show a facial droop brought on by paralysis of the muscles. However, not every stroke results in these symptoms. It is possible for someone to suffer a stroke and not have any problems with concentration or speaking.

Common symptoms

Another problem is that a stroke can produce symptoms that are so common that a doctor might not link them to a stroke. Your stroke may not produce any paralysis or cognitive issues, but you may have a headache, dizziness, vertigo, or loss of balance. A doctor might attribute these symptoms to another cause and not consider the possibility of a stroke.

The frequency of stroke misdiagnosis

The Health.com article explains that errors in diagnosing strokes are actually low, at 8.7%. However, instances of stroke in the United States are high, so even a low error percentage means the lives of many people may suffer a negative impact from an incorrect diagnosis.

You might lessen your chances of a misdiagnosis by being clear about your medical history if you visit your doctor concerning your symptoms. However, your doctor should also ask you the proper questions about your health to help clarify whatever problem you have.