Arizona residents should be aware that there is a risk that some health care practitioners will misdiagnose of fail to diagnose chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A study conducted by the University of Birmingham and the Harrow Clinical Commissioning Group in the United Kingdom highlighted these risks. One of the most common lung diseases and a leading cause of disease-related death in the United States, COPD is a dangerous disease that should never be underestimated. It is a progressive disease, and it is manifested in airway obstructions, shortness of breath and coughing. COPD is most often attributed to smoking.
It has been estimated that 210 million people around the world suffer from COPD. Of those numbers, nearly 27 million are in the United States. Its prevalence and mortality is increasing, and in places where it is under-diagnosed, it poses an even greater threat to sufferers. In the United Kingdom study, the team reports that COPD can also be over-diagnosed in certain groups when the current diagnostic criteria is used.
The current guidelines seem to under-diagnose COPD in young women while older men are over-diagnosed. It has been estimated that up to 13 percent of patients diagnosed with COPD under the current criteria have actually been misdiagnosed. Because of the effects inappropriate medication and incorrect treatment can have on the body, a misdiagnosis can cause damage to patients. One example is the inhaler, which is considered by some to be unnecessary for COPD treatment and can actually increase the risk of developing severe pneumonia.
A misdiagnosis of a disease can potentially be harmful to a patient, who may have to incur additional medical expenses and suffer adverse consequences until the situation is properly handled. A person in this situation may wish to speak with a medical malpractice attorney to determine whether there is a possibility of obtaining compensation from the negligent doctor or other practitioner.