Diabetes is an increasingly common condition today. More than 29 million Americans suffer from the disease, and as many as 8 million of those people may be undiagnosed or unaware of the problem, according to Healthline. There are three main types of diabetes – type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Each can present a range of symptoms, from unexplained pain to weight gain. The reality is that failure to diagnose diabetes delays treatment, increases the risk of complications, and can even be deadly in extreme cases. Diabetes misdiagnosis typically fall into two categories: failure to diagnose and negligently delayed diagnosis that leads to unfortunate and avoidable complications.
Diagnosing diabetes is surprisingly simple. It can be confirmed with a routine blood test that looks at blood sugar levels. The A1C test measures your average blood glucose for the last few months. Ranges between 5.7 and 6.5 mean prediabetes, while levels over 6.5 indicate full-blown diabetes. Fasting blood glucose levels over 100 indicate prediabetes, while levels over 126 are considered diabetic. An oral glucose test is also an option that looks at the patient’s reaction to orally ingested glucose and its impact on blood sugar.
Symptoms that indicate the possibility of diabetes include:
- Increased thirst
- Excessive urination
- Weight loss that’s not easily explained
- Weight gain that’s not easily explained
- Changes in appetite, including a high level of hunger
- Skin problems, including itchy, dry, or cracked skin
- Decreased healing capacity, such as cuts or bruises that don’t go away
- Yeast infections, especially recurrent or hard to treat infections
- Fatigue and irritability
- Vision changes, especially blurry vision
- Numbness or tingling in limbs
Treatment and complications
The treatment of diabetes depends on the seriousness of the disease, as well as the person’s overall health. Solutions range from lifestyle changes focused on diet and exercise to medications and administering insulin. The focus is on lowering blood sugar levels. If diabetes goes untreated or is unable to be controlled, there can be serious complications. Some of the more serious complications include vision changes including blindness, ongoing pain, amputations due to poor circulation, diabetic coma and even death. As a result proper diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing management are essential to a patient’s overall health and quality of life.
If you’ve visited your doctor with these symptoms and were not diagnosed, you may be facing a malpractice situation. In the case of diabetes, malpractice can occur when the doctor failed to conduct proper testing, failed to conduct follow-up testing as indicated by preliminary results, didn’t recommend or authorize appropriate treatment, or didn’t identify risk factors including lifestyle and family history. When malpractice is suspected, an attorney will audit your medical records and consult with top experts in diabetes diagnosis and care to decide if additional steps should have been taken with regard to your diagnosis, treatment or ongoing care.
Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with diabetes and believe that delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis played a role in your case? Contact a qualified and experienced medical malpractice attorney today to arrange for a personalized consultation to learn more about whether your misdiagnosed diabetes may qualify as medical malpractice.