Skip to content

Women's Health

Font Size

Medical Conditions Doctors Miss

So you're sleepy a lot and maybe a little blue, and your blood pressure is on the high side. It could be stress, or these and other common symptoms could be signs of serious medical conditions that doctors sometimes overlook.
WebMD Feature

My grandmother Ima would always have something baking in the oven every time I came home from school. My favorite treat was a pastry with generous portions of butter, sugar, and cheese. What I would give to have another whiff of that homemade marvel and to have Ima hand me my warm afternoon snack.

Ima passed away a few years ago from complications related to Parkinson's disease. Family and friends didn't know she had the disorder until it was too late. I wonder if it could have been better managed had we known about the ailment. Of course, there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, and treatment strategies are simply geared toward relieving symptoms. Still, I wonder, as loved ones do, if something could have been done to give us more time with her.

Recommended Related to Women

Are You Prepared for the Worst?

By Nathaniel Benforado Disasters happen. Here's how to safeguard your home -- today.   Fire, flood, robbery -- you can lose everything in an instant, and then how do you get it all back? The first essential is homeowner's insurance. The other must-have is less obvious: a home inventory that documents all your possessions. This information will help you determine whether you have enough insurance coverage. In the event of a disaster, it'll allow you to file claims faster and more...

Read the Are You Prepared for the Worst? article > >

Guesswork may not bring people back into our lives, but awareness and action could possibly help us and loved ones live healthier days. How important is diagnosing a disease before it's too late to change its course? For example, wouldn't it help to know you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol before your first heart attack?

To help in the timely and proper diagnosis of illnesses, patients need to be active advocates for themselves, says Mary Frank, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a practicing family doctor in Rohnert Park, Calif. She says it's important to be direct and honest with doctors. This open communication helps screen for diseases.

"A lot of times patients are embarrassed about things, like, for example, when they snore," says Frank. "That could be nothing, or that could be a symptom of a problem like sleep apnea. No need to be embarrassed. Doctors hear those things all the time."

Sometime patients minimize symptoms. They may visit a physician and report they've been feeling tired, but then brush it off by saying 'Oh, but I've been working long hours.' Minimizing symptoms can hinder or delay a doctor's effort to find out the truth. Even if a person is certain of the cause of the symptom, if it's affecting your life, it's worth bringing up, says Frank. In the case of fatigue, it is a symptom of many ailments, including chronic kidney disease, depression, and underactive thyroid.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
Is it menopause or something else?
woman in bathtub
bp app on smartwatch and phone
estrogen gene

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
hot water bottle on stomach
Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror