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Skin conditions with similar symptoms can lead to misdiagnoses

| Nov 14, 2017 | Medical Malpractice |

New York has plenty of options when it comes to health care providers and skincare specialists. However, the average person may not seek out a dermatologist because they think most skin problems are minor. It’s important to remember that many skin disorders are similar in appearance and often confused with each other. A serious disease mistaken for a rash, for example, could lead to lost treatment time or worse.

Skin cancer can start with what looks like a blemish. The most common skin cancer in the United States, basal cell carcinoma, can easily be confused with acne. One in five people gets basal cell carcinoma at some point in their lives. A trip to a dermatologist is recommended if a pimple does not go away for several weeks, if it changes in appearance or size or if it bleeds.

The chronic condition rosacea causes redness of the face and skin sensitivity. It is often mistaken for acne, even by dermatologists. Treatment with acne medication can make rosacea worse. People who have a tendency to blush or look flushed might have rosacea.

Dry scalp, flaky skin or flaky rashes are often ignored or treated with over-the-counter products. However, they could actually signal the chronic disease psoriasis. Psoriasis is a disease of the immune system, but there are prescription medications to control outbreaks. Another inflammatory skin condition, eczema, shows up as tiny cracks in the skin. It is often misdiagnosed as ringworm.

Misdiagnosis is a two-way street. Overlooking a serious disease can allow time for the disease to get worse, but diagnosis of a disease that is not actually present can cause health problems to develop from prescribed medications that are not needed. In either case, a person who is misdiagnosed can suffer both physically and emotionally as a result. When someone suffers as a result of a misdiagnosis, they might be entitled to compensation if there is evidence of medical malpractice.

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