Medical journals are littered with them. Heart-wrenching tales of folks who were misdiagnosed only to have the true cause of their illness revealed months… or even years… later when they’re lucky—and not until their autopsy when their not.
Because the truth is, even if your doctor doesn’t want to admit it, every one of us—including him—can make a mistake. In fact experts say up to 20 percent of diagnoses are wrong. One study estimated that every single year as many people die from a misdiagnosis as die from breast cancer.
People can spend years suffering, not getting the treatments they so desperately need. Even worse they could be pumped full of drugs and treated for illnesses they don’t have destroying their health even further.
Treated for Alzheimer’s but suffered from Lyme disease
One famous example of misdiagnosis is the story of actor and singer Kris Kristofferson of “Me and Bobby McGee” fame. He spent many years on heavy-duty Alzheimer’s drugs that didn’t do a thing for him before discovering he actually had Lyme disease.
Thankfully Kristofferson was able to catch the misdiagnosis in time to start getting the proper treatment. But not everyone is so lucky and no is immune, not even the rich or famous. Take the story of President’ Lincoln’s wife Mary for example.
History tells us that Mary wasn’t a healthy woman. She displayed increasingly bizarre behaviors and eventually she was said to have gone “crazy,” experiencing delusions and hallucinations. But recently a medical historian has offered up an alternate explanation for Mary’s many ailments and “strange” behaviors.
According to Dr. John Sotots, Mary very likely was suffering from a severe and devastating vitamin deficiency. After poring through hundreds upon hundreds of letters, photos and historical sources Dr. Sotos concluded Mary’s insanity diagnosis—and her committal to an asylum—was off base. It turns out she may have been the victim of pernicious anemia, a severe vitamin B12 deficiency.
A textbook case of pernicious anemia misdiagnosed as insanity
The litany of symptoms that Mary suffered through before finally being misdiagnosed as insane reads like a textbook case of pernicious anemia: headaches, fevers, trouble walking, swelling, pins and needles, breathing problems and heart rate issues.
Other 21th century investigators who have tried to guess Mary’s true diagnosis have suggested Lyme disease, chronic fatigue and diabetes. But severe vitamin B12 deficiency’s impact on the central nervous system makes pernicious anemia the most likely diagnosis.
Unfortunately, despite it being 2016 misdiagnoses are still far too common, and something as simple as a vitamin deficiency can turn deadly if it’s overlooked for too long.
Vitamin B12 deficiencies still happen—especially in older folks—and are often still missed by doctors. And keep in mind what’s considered a “normal” level of any vitamin many not be optimal for you.
If you’re experiencing any strange symptoms—or you’ve gotten a diagnosis that just doesn’t sit right with you—do yourself a favor and seek out the help of a holistic doctor. He can work with you on a plan to pinpoint what’s truly at the heart of your own symptoms and optimize all of your levels.
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