Have you ever had a bad day? Well, I have, in fact, I had one last week. The day started off innocently enough and in typical fashion, however, as soon as I left the house is when things started to go wrong.
Much like everyone else in my office, I enjoy a cup of coffee from the nearby cafe. Actually, calling it coffee may be doing it an injustice. In reality, it’s a “Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato,” however, that particular morning, that was not what I received. Sure, I know what you’re thinking, “it’s only coffee,” and you’re right, and I wasn’t going to let it ruin my day. However, having to drink the wrong coffee was just the start.
Upon arriving at the office was excited to learn that a package had arrived and was waiting on my desk, the contents of which I can only assume were to much-delayed brochures I order for my presentation that very afternoon. Unfortunately, upon opening the box, I discovered that they had sent me the wrong brochures, and given there already late arrival, I would have no time to find new ones before the presentation. And while definitely not ideal, I was still optimistic for the evening as I had a fundraiser to attend and it had been a while since I had gotten dressed up – the joys of parenthood.
I managed to get through the presentation without my aids and decided to treat myself by skipping out of work early to pick up my outfit for the night from the cleaners and take a well-deserved bath. With the kids going to the in-laws for the evening after school, I felt obligated to take advantage.
Clean, calm and relaxed, the worries of the day were a distant memory after my bath as I went into the bedroom to put on my favorite gown. However, those feelings would be short-lived, for after unzipping the garment bag, what was revealed to me was not my gown, but rather a hideous dress that looked like something out of the 80’s. I won’t go on from there, but needless to say, the day didn’t end well.
Although by most measures, what happened to me that fateful do was not ideal, it wasn’t THAT bad. People make mistakes, often, at no fault of their own, and that day, it was the baristas, printers and dry cleaners turn, much to my chagrin. And those individuals are fortunate that when the makes, they are usually superficial. It not like it’s a matter of life or death, right? But what if it was?
Doctors are human just like your barista, your printer or your dry cleaner. However, when they make a mistake, the consequences are potentially life or death, and it is for this reason that we hold them to such high standards. However, mistakes can happen, and they do. In fact, each year in the U.S., approximately 12 million adults who seek outpatient medical care are misdiagnosed, according to a new study published in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety. This figure amounts to 1 out of 20 adult patients, and researchers say in half of those cases, the misdiagnosis has the potential to result in severe harm.
Although there are many systems put in place to mitigate the risk of a misdiagnosis, it would be naive to think they won’t happen. And while we all can’t have gone to medical school or have impressive backgrounds in the sciences, we can do are due diligence and learn what some of the most common misdiagnosis occurrences currently are. While it is impossible to protect oneself from all the potential accidents and mistakes that can happen, by learning what to look out for, you could just save your life.
By every measure, a non-diagnose is just as bad, if not worse than a misdiagnose, and is the case with diabetes, it is a sad reality. According to the American Diabetes Association, In 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population, had diabetes. And if that statistic of roughly 1 in 10 wasn't scary enough, try this one on - of the 29.1 million, 21.0 million were diagnosed, and 8.1 million were undiagnosed.
"There are a lot of people out there with elevated blood sugar levels who aren't getting to the doctor regularly, so they aren't getting checked for it,” says Dr. David Fleming, president of the American College of Physicians and a professor of medicine at the University of Missouri. "They won't realize it until it gets severe enough that they start developing side effects, like problems with their vision or numbness in their feet or hands.”
If a person does, in fact, have Type 2 diabetes, inevitably, it can’t stay hidden forever. If left untreated, this disease can very easily turn life threatening, causing damage to some of the body’s major organs. Among the many outcomes from untreated diabetes, a few of them include heart disease and a higher risk of heart attack and stroke; eye and vision problems, including blindness; kidney disease that can lead to kidney failure; neuropathy (nerve damage) that can cause tingling and pain the hands and feet; numerous infections; dental problems; and in very severe cases, amputation of the feet due to infection.
Know now what you do about diabetes, it should be known that the battle against it, or rather, to prevent it, starts at home with a balanced, healthy and clean diet, coupled with regular exercise. Speak to your doctor if you think you may be at risk, as it is never too early to start being healthier.