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Diagnosing rare diseases

The citizens of New Jersey may be surprised to learn that rare diseases affect around 400 million people globally. Nevertheless, given the relatively low number of people affected by these ailments, rare diseases are rarely researched or talked about in the public sphere, making them a mystery to today's doctors. According to some estimates, out of 7,000 diseases classified as rare, only 500 can be treated.

The statistics surrounding rare diseases are interesting. To begin with, a disease classified as rare affects less than 200,000 Americans, half of which are children. What's more, several rare cancers are actually subtypes of other cancers that are more common. On average, rare diseases receive less than 10 percent of medical research funding.

As a result of how little research goes on, doctors aren't adept at identifying and treating rare diseases, which leads to rare diseases being diagnosed at a late stage. Doctors often mistake the rare disease for a more common illness, and it's not until the symptoms of the illness persist that a doctor makes a later diagnosis. An example of this comes in the form of mesothelioma, a rare cancer that affects around 3,000 people every year. However, due to the fact that its symptoms include shortness of breath and chest pain, doctors often confuse it with the common cold or asthma. By the time a proper diagnosis is found, the cancer may have reached stage four. Unfortunately, less than a quarter of people suffering from rare diseases get diagnosed early.

As for people who believe they may suffer from a rare disease, they should be aware of all their symptoms and relay that information to their doctors. Moreover, they should keep up with their appointments in order to maximize the chance of an early diagnosis. If someone believes that they've been misdiagnosed as a result of medical negligence or carelessness, they might benefit from reaching out to an experienced attorney to show them their legal options.

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