No one wants to spend their life worrying about their health and if they’ll face a serious ailment in the future. Even so, you’re the only person who knows how you feel, so it’s your responsibility to obtain care when you need it.

When seeking medical assistance, do so with the idea of finding a reputable doctor with the experience and knowledge to provide you with an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment strategy.

Although you do your best to protect against it, a medical misdiagnosis is possible. Here are some of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions:

  • Cancer: As one of top causes of death in the United States, many people fear a cancer diagnosis. While millions of people hear the phrase “you have cancer” every year, others are misdiagnosed up front, which causes more trouble down the road. Colorectal, breast and lung cancer are among the most commonly misdiagnosed types.
  • Heart attack: A heart attack shares symptoms with many less serious health concerns, such as indigestion and overexertion. This can lead your medical team to send you home, despite the fact that you’re having a heart attack or require follow-up treatment.
  • Stroke: Immediate diagnosis and treatment is critical to minimizing the risk of a stroke. Common symptoms include poor coordination, confusion and weakness. Unfortunately, if these come on slowly, your doctor could overlook the true root of your problem.

How can you protect yourself?

Even the most cautious patients have the potential to become the victim of a medical misdiagnosis. If you want to minimize the odds, here are several things you can do:

  • Seek care from reputable doctors that work in the best hospitals in your area
  • Keep track of all your symptoms
  • Don’t wait to get a second opinion if you don’t like the approach your first doctor takes
  • Always provide your medical team with truthful feedback on your health
  • Don’t overlook abnormal test results
  • Ask how long it should take for symptoms to subside and/or medication to start working

If your life was turned upside down by a medical misdiagnosis, the first thing you should do is find a medical team you can trust. This alone will reduce your stress and help you feel better about the future.

From there, learn more about the cause of your medical misdiagnosis, while also considering your legal rights as a patient.