After years of dealing with a chronic illness, you may feel like the symptoms are all in your head. How could so many doctors be wrong about your illness? However, medical misdiagnosis is much more common than you might think. In fact, up to 12 million Americans suffer from a misdiagnosis each year!

Mystery Illness: How to Overcome Years of Misdiagnoses

You can overcome the cycle of misdiagnosis and finally receive the care you deserve with the help of these steps.

1. Share Your Medicines and Previous Diagnoses

Patients often take it for granted that their doctors know their medical history and previous diagnoses. However, some of that information can be lost or miscommunicated when going from doctor to doctor.

Even if you think your doctor already knows your history, share it again. They could be missing a key piece of information that could lead to an accurate diagnosis.

2. Find a New, Different Doctor

You’ve probably cycled through dozens of doctors hoping to find the right diagnosis. However, sometimes it’s not enough just to find another doctor. If you’re a woman, you may find better care with a female doctor, for example.

Women tend to receive misdiagnoses quite often, from dismissed heart attacks to overlooked endometriosis. Finding a younger doctor could also lead to a different perspective, as they may have a different point of view than their more experienced colleagues.

3. Know the Protocol

Sometimes misdiagnoses are the result of bad practices on the part of the doctor. When doctors fail to follow up, order the correct tests or misread results, they can be responsible for medical malpractice or wrongful death lawsuits.

If you find yourself in this unfortunate scenario, you may want to contact a lawyer from Dolman Law Group or a similar firm to get professional advice on your situation.

4. Start a Diary

Documenting your symptoms is very important for chronic illnesses. Your diary should include the food you’ve eaten, how much sleep you had and the details of your symptoms, at the minimum.

It will be helpful for your doctor to see a pattern of times or events that trigger your symptoms. You can keep this in a traditional diary or on your phone—just be sure to bring it with you to all of your appointments.

5. Go When You Have Symptoms

The symptoms of chronic illnesses tend to come and go, which can make it difficult to get an accurate diagnosis. Migraines, for examples, can’t be diagnosed with an MRI unless a migraine is actually occurring.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to schedule an appointment around your symptoms. Have a conversation with your doctor or specialist about making a special appointment for when you’re exhibiting symptoms or find a specialist that will.

If you believe you have received a misdiagnosis, don’t lose hope. You can overcome your years of misdiagnosis to finally put a name on your mystery illness. You just need the right strategy.