Close this search box.

Misdiagnosed autoimmune diseases

Misdiagnosed autoimmune diseases

How many people have symptoms that cannot be explained by a test? Pain or digestive problems may not reveal their cause in a test but may hide an autoimmune disease.

Increasingly, diagnostic methods are being opened up with the aim of providing definitive solutions for people with chronic symptomatology. For example, when we at Biosalud talk about Chronic LymeWe know exactly what method and treatment to apply, but not all diseases have the same diagnostic response.

Nonspecific and unexplained pain, digestive problems and other symptoms such as tiredness are a source of discomfort for the patient, which, however, cannot be solved by a visit to the doctor.

A medical diagnosis as we know it is not infallible. In fact, it is a necessary and fundamental step in medicine, the variables involved in the disease mean that the procedures used up to now provide only weak information or at least incomplete on the patient's state of health.

A autoimmune disease may have symptoms that are non-specific and vary from person to person. Therefore, by looking for a coincidence with a disease that leads to treatment, manifestations of autoimmunity that actually require other treatment can be left out.

Why are autoimmune diseases misdiagnosed?

The evolution of medicine in the West, in the interest of safety and efficacy of treatments, has left out what cannot be classified or defined in general and very common categories. This has left out numerous autoimmune pathologies for which no clinical trials have been done but which are there.

Among the causes of misdiagnosis of autoimmune diseases we found:

  • the high cost of some tests is not routinely performed
  • the symptoms that can be manifested by the human body are limited for the number of ailments that may be behind it
  • the medical training and procedures are limitingThere is no openness to illness.
  • the judgement of our trusted doctors is not questioned nor are they called upon to make any further requests.Second opinions

Autoimmune diseases can be misdiagnosed, especially in the most common autoimmune diseases. early stages of the disease. Common symptoms include:

  • fatigueeven when the patient is not making any significant effort. Chronic malaise or generalised weakness is added to this sensation.
  • Pain in some areas of the body and inflammation
  • The inflammation can lead to an increased feeling of sleepiness due to the production of cytokines
  • Slight peaks of fever or febrile
  • Lack of concentration and asthenia or a lack of mood and energy.

Many autoimmune and other more common diseases have these symptoms and a specialist should not treat a patient with a narrow view of the disease. What can indicate that there really is a failure of the immune system is the duration of symptoms, lack of appetite or that the patient feels sick, not just tired.

Other factors that are taken into account for the diagnosis of the disease are:

  • Factors hereditary and family history of autoimmune diseases.
  • Previous infections
  • Stress physical and mental
  • The nutrition
  • The pollution and chemical agents

These factors are not causative of the disease but they can be triggers for the pathology that was latent. Generally, it is the primary care physician who listens to the symptoms, takes a medical history and orders tests. Even with all his care and competence, he may not be qualified to make an accurate diagnosis and should refer us to a specialist if the symptoms persist.

Establishing a trusting relationship with your doctor and working as a team is essential. But in addition, the specialist has to provide a proper procedure to find a diagnosis and this is where you should have an open mind. At Biosalud Day Hospital we do not only carry out a causal diagnosis We have been seeing patients with chronic and autoimmune diseases for more than 35 years. We have a wealth of experience and an innovative DNA.

Poorly diagnosed autoimmune diseases

Some of the autoimmune diseases that are generally misdiagnosed or delayed in diagnosis are:


Colic, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation...are some of the symptoms that occur in the Irritable Bowel Syndrome and usually appear in a mild form. Despite being a very common disease, early diagnosis is difficult because there is no specific test to detect this autoimmune disease.

Medical history and tests to rule out other pathologies with coeliac disease are necessary, but in addition to this, a number of common criteria for diagnosis:

  • abdominal painat least one day a week, along with one of these symptoms: pain associated with defecation and change in frequency or consistency of bowel movements.
  • These symptoms must have started, at a minimum six months before diagnosis and with persistence over the last three months.

It is important that the patient carries a recording of food, pain and symptoms and even mood (stress can be a triggering factor for this syndrome) to provide the specialist with all the details of the disease.


With the systemic lupus erythematosus The same is true, there is no specific test for its diagnosis. This is an autoimmune disease that affects collagen and therefore the connective tissues of our body. Its symptoms vary in both type and intensity depending on the patient: from reddening of the skin to extreme tiredness.

If it is so difficult to diagnose, it is because no two lupus patients are the same.


This autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system. In addition to the characteristic clinical features, magnetic resonance imaging of the brain or spinal cord and examination of the cerebrospinal fluid must be taken into account in the diagnosis. The diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is usually done by a neurologist.

Infectious diseases that are diagnosed as autoimmune diseases

The general symptoms described above are not only common to autoimmune diseases. Many pathologies are associated with fatigue, digestive discomfort or inflammation. Allergy, infection... share these symptoms and can be confusing to make a diagnosis.. This error can be fatal in some cases.

The Lyme disease is one of those pathologies that takes a long time to diagnose and has a very aggressive evolution from the moment it presents its first symptoms. In fact, when Chronic Lyme is called Multi-Systemic Multi-Infection Syndrome because it affects different systems and tissues, from musculoskeletal to neurological.

Tiredness, digestive problems or reddening of the skin may be among the symptoms of the Lyme disease. As a rare disease, this infection is under-diagnosed and confused with fibromyalgia or rheumatic diseases.

Mariano Bueno

Dr. Mariano Bueno and his team

Suscríbete a nuestra newsletter

Abrir chat
¿En qué podemos ayudarte?