Alzheimer’s patients at risk of misdiagnosis

New Jersey Alzheimer’s disease patients who also experience symptoms of psychosis are at a particula risk for misdiagnosis, a study suggests. People with Alzheimer’s who experience symptoms like hallucinations and delusions are far more apt to be misdiagnosed as having Lewy body dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is also a type of dementia that involves protein deposits in the brain in which fibers are found inside brain cells. On the other hand, LBD is believed to be connected to a different abnormal protein in nerve cells in the brain. While both are forms of dementia, the potential treatments for both diseases are likely to be different.

In general, Alzheimer’s disease has a high rate of misdiagnosis. Research also suggests that there is insufficient awareness of just how common psychotic symptoms can be for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Because these symptoms are characteristic of other types of dementia, many doctors are reluctant to diagnose patients with Alzheimer’s when they present with both dementia and psychosis. Researchers engaged in the study noted that their figures reflect final clinical diagnoses, so the real percentage of misdiagnosis is likely higher among the general population. They emphasized the importance of correct diagnosis in supporting ongoing research into a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia forms.

Concerns about misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose aren’t limited to people struggling with dementia. There are many diseases that present symptoms that are similar to other illnesses, and an incorrect diagnosis could result in a worsened medical condition. Patients who have been harmed in this manner might want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney and discuss their options.

FindLaw Network

View All
Practice areas