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COPD guidelines and New York patient misdiagnosis

New York residents may be interested in a University of Birmingham study that highlights the risk of misdiagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD is a commonly occurring lung disease, ranking as the third leading cause of disease-related death in America. COPD is progressive and leads to the development of numerous breathing problems, including obstruction, shortness of breath and cough. Approximately 210 million individuals suffer from COPD around the world, with 27 million sufferers located in the United States alone.

Smoking is the primary cause of COPD, and it is more treatable in its early stages. Nonetheless, COPD commonly goes undiagnosed among certain patient groups. COPD diagnosis requires spirometric evidence and takes into account the patient's sex, age, height and ethnicity. A 2001 initiative by the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease implemented new diagnostic standards that did not account for sex, age or similar factors in hopes of creating a more easily implemented test for COPD.

In 2010, medical organizations around the world entreated GOLD to modify its standards, citing the fact that as many as 13 percent of those diagnosed with COPD under these criteria are misdiagnosed. Older men are more likely to be over-diagnosed with COPD, while physicians under-diagnose young women. A misdiagnosis can have severe consequences on patients who receive inappropriate medication or wrong treatment.

The guidelines for testing for and managing COPD are often confusing and may result in serious or even life-threatening consequences for misdiagnosed patients. From misinterpreting MRI scans to delayed diagnosis that narrows the treatment window for COPD, misdiagnosed patients may accrue physical as well as monetary damages from negligent medical care. A medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help patients seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, insurance costs, lost wages, lost earning potential and the pain and suffering caused by a misdiagnosis.

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