Humans seem to want to tackle problems and find solutions. Still, I cannot understand why a doctor would want to become a neurologist. There are so many devastating disease variations with even more overlapping symptoms.
Take ALS. Please.
From ALS Treatment:
There are a number of diseases which can initially be mistaken for ALS, with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s among the most well-known. Symptoms exhibited by Patients will vary, especially in the early stages of a disease that affects the nerves and this often leads to misdiagnosis for conditions that have similar presentations.
It can take years to determine that someone has ALS because it is a diagnosis of exclusion. Once everything else is excluded, or eliminated from consideration, ALS is the only thing left on the table.
In the meantime, about 10-percent of all ALS diagnoses are wrong and something else is going on instead. Like what, you ask?
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Benign Fasciculations Disease
- Spinobulbar Muscular Atrophy
- Inclusion Body Myositis
- Myasthenia Gravis
That’s the short list and none of those are diseases you want, either.
How about this one?
- Motor-predominant chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy
That’s a mouthful of descriptive neuro-jargon.
Wait. There’s more. From Ray Srivastava:
The diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is seen to be more accurate in up to 95% of cases with bilateral presentation but fell to almost 38% in patients with unilateral (hemiparetic) or pseudopolyneuritic forms. Population-based studies have shown that almost 10% of patients diagnosed with ALS have had another disease. Hence there is a great need to discuss the differentials and rule out alternate pathology.
In other words, neurologists get it right when ALS symptoms are most common, but get it wrong more frequently when symptoms are atypical. It takes longer, but they get it right.
About 90-percent of the time.
I found another one. It’s called Pompe Disease, even more rare than ALS. The disease is genetic and though deadly for many, in late onset it can mimic some atypical ALS presentations and it may have a cure; or at least treatment that may improve symptoms.
ALS is a slow motion death sentence. Many ALS mimics offer a similar fate.
But not all.