Some Common Ailments That are Often Labeled Incorrectly

Some Common Ailments That are Often Labeled Incorrectly

You might want to argue with Kate Ashford’s article in Prevention magazine, but it’s fun to read. Quoting three physicians, she points out “Five Health Conditions That Don’t Really Exist”:

Stomach flu: If you suffer from vomiting and diarrhea, it’s not influenza, says Jill Swartz, an urgent-care doctor in New York. The flu virus causes fever, congestion and sore throat. The stomach issues are probably from gastroenteritis, which is a different virus.

Walking pneumonia: Even though doctors use the term, it’s “something of a catch-all rather than an exact diagnosis,” Swartz says, trotted out when you have a chronic cough and doctors can’t figure out why.

Gluten allergy: Yes, gluten can make some people feel sick, but what’s going on is not an allergy. “Celiac disease . . . is an immune response to gluten, not an allergy like we think about a peanut allergy,” says allergist Janna Tuck.And you might just have a sensitivity, meaning you get bloating or pain when you ingest gluten.

Nervous breakdown: “When we get overwhelmed, we can feel like we are going to lose our minds, but we do not,” says Tamar Gur, a psychiatrist at Ohio State University. “People do not have mental breakdowns.” What they usually have, rather than a total meltdown, is an episode of a particular condition (anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.) that is treatable, not apocalyptic.

Head cold: No different from any common cold. (The same goes for “chest cold.”) You’re just describing where you happen to notice the symptoms.


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