Have you been experiencing discomforts every day with symptoms like recurrent headaches, chronic pain in the muscles, joints and back, shortness of breath, stomach issues, and unexplained fatigue? Despite repeated visits to your doctor’s clinic coupled with laboratory tests and medications, your physical symptoms still remain. But there may be hope yet for your “mystery illness”.
Researchers at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark recruited 978 patients from the primary care, neurological and medical departments of the teaching hospital. Prior to the study, the doctors observed that patients were coming in for medical consultations with a set of physical symptoms that cannot be pinned down, so to speak, on any of the known diseases and disorders.
The study resulted in a new diagnosis – bodily distress syndrome. Giving the set of physical symptoms a name appears to be helping afflicted individuals – the fear of the unknown can exacerbate physical symptoms – deal with their experiences. Doing so has also helped doctors arrive at a diagnosis and, thus, assist their patients to full recovery.
Perhaps, you will want to discuss with your doctor the possibility that your set of symptoms may be bodily distress syndrome. This is especially true when your symptoms include headaches, pain in the back, muscles, joints, and fatigue as well as shortness of breath. Your symptoms may even be so severe that everyday activities like grocery shopping, cleaning the house, and doing the laundry seem insurmountable.
If your doctor has knowledge of bodily distress syndrome, you will be required to undergo a diagnostic exam consisting of laboratory tests and interviews on your medical history. The exam is designed to ascertain that your physical symptoms are not the result of other medical conditions like joint pain in arthritis or shortness of breath in asthma. Your condition will not be labeled as bodily distress syndrome when these are caused by other diseases or disorders.
Your doctor will also determine whether you have one of the following disorders: (The researchers have discovered that 98% of patients in the study have been diagnosed with these medical conditions)
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome
• Chronic Pain Disorder
• Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
• Chronic Acute Whiplash Associated Disorders
The bottom line: Just because you are suffering from physical symptoms that do not fit into a known disease or disorder does not mean that you or your doctor can dismiss these signs as psychosomatic or hypochondriac episodes. Seek help!