Close Links between Rheumatic, Neurological Disorders Complicates Diagnosis

When patients seek medical attention for symptoms such as headaches or seizures that could be caused by a range of underlying conditions, the process of arriving at an accurate diagnosis can be quite challenging for health care professionals. One recent study has shown that making the wrong diagnosis in these situations can cause considerable harm.

When patients seek medical attention for symptoms such as headaches or seizures that could be caused by a range of underlying conditions, the process of arriving at an accurate diagnosis can be quite challenging for health care professionals. One recent study has shown that making the wrong diagnosis in these situations can cause considerable harm.

The study, published in Current Neurology and Neuroscience, was conducted by a team of neurologists from Loyola University Medical Center. Data from the study showed that because lupus and other rheumatological diseases can have symptoms similar to various neurological conditions it can make the final diagnosis difficult to arrive at.

Even if the correct diagnosis is eventually made, the authors noted that the treatment for diseases in rheumatology can have a detrimental effect on the patient’s neurological system.

“Rheumatic disorders presenting as neurological syndromes may pose diagnostic challenges,” the authors noted in a statement.

The authors also said that while the most common treatments for rheumatic disorders involve immune-suppressing drugs and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, there are still risks that need to be considered in treatment.

“These treatments also carry a risk of adverse neurological effects,” they said. “Therefore, familiarity with neurological manifestations of rheumatologic diseases, diagnosis and potential nervous system consequences of treatment is paramount.”