Doctors Need to Stop Brushing Off New Symptoms From Patients With Pre-Existing Conditions

Whenever concerning symptoms are experienced, most people head to the doctor for a diagnosis. For those who have a complex medical history, many doctors just assume your new symptoms are related to a preexisting condition.

“Oh, you’re experiencing a new type of joint pain suddenly? It must be related to your preexisting condition of joint hypermobility.”

“You have a new symptom of shoulder pain? It must be from your CRPS.”


“You’re experiencing a new symptom of muscle spasms? It must be related to your fibromyalgia.”

New symptoms need to be monitored and new conditions ruled out before doctors assume they are related to a pre-existing condition. However, this happens all too often when patients walk into their doctor’s office or into the ER.

If a perfectly healthy person walked into the ER saying they were experiencing the worst headache of their life, a full work-up would be done to rule out conditions such as a brain aneurism or meningitis. If somebody with a history of migraine walked in with the same complaint, most likely not much of a work-up would be done and the person would be sent home with instructions to follow up with their doctor.

Why should two patients with the same complaints but different medical histories be treated differently? Each person with a pre-existing condition should be treated properly before assuming the new symptom is related to their chronic condition.

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Thinkstock photo via Digital Vision.

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