How to diagnose disease? And what are the different medical diagnostic procedures?

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  • Do you ever think that what is the criteria to diagnose a disease or how to diagnose disease?
  • Do you ever bother that why doctors ask you to go and conduct any medical test like a blood test, CBC or LFT?
  • Do u ever just confused that why an experienced specialist cannot make a diagnosis without a medical test?

If yes? Then here we are answering all these questions about medical diagnosis, the significance of the medical test, diagnostic procedures, and much more.

Diagnosis of a disease is a key step to treat any disease. Diagnosis of a disease is so essential to treat any disease treatment plans, for prescription of medicines and precaution associated with any specific disease or disorder. 

What is a medical diagnosis?

Before discussing that “ how to diagnose disease” it is important to know that what medical diagnosis actually means.

Medical Diagnosis can be defined as the process of determining the underlying disease or disorder of an individual. The diagnosis provides an authentic verification with documented evidence to called any individual “ a patient”. It is abbreviated as Dx or Ds. Diagnosis can be performed by taking a medical history, evaluation sign, and symptoms or by means of diagnostic procedures for example medical tests. Without an accurate diagnosis, no doctor will be able to cure or treat any disease. That’s why it is one of the most fundamental procedures of a doctor’s visit. 

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Is medical diagnosis challenging?

Yes, medical diagnosis is somewhat challenging for health care professionals due to many common signs and symptoms shared between many diseases and disorders. It is also termed as non-specific. Same is the case with infectious diseases caused by micro-organisms like viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Here diagnosis of the causative agent is mandatory to prescribe antibiotics for a specific time duration.

Diagnostic procedures

The exact explanation for “How to diagnose a disease?” can be given under this heading. The disease is being diagnosed with help of different methods, procedures, and techniques. As long as medical science is developing, the diagnosis of the disease becomes more comprehensible, accurate, less time consuming, and lower probability of errors. 

1. Differential diagnosis

Differential diagnosis can be defined as a method of finding patients’ disease that causes signs and symptoms following more medical tests to reach a conclusion with one probable disease. If differential diagnoses are unable to point out one probable cause then it shall indicate one life-threatening condition.

2. Pattern recognition

In this method, the doctor may use his experience to identify the pattern of clinical characteristics. It is totally based on signs and symptoms associated with a specific disease. Cognitive processing is not necessarily involved in the differential diagnosis. The conditions where the disease is obvious here is the primary method for diagnosis. Pattern recognition is a direct diagnosis based on signs and symptoms that is followed by certain therapy.

3. Diagnostic criteria

This term refers to a combination of specific signs and symptoms that help the doctors make accurate decisions and clinical diagnoses. Some examples of clinical case definitions are Center criteria for strep throat, Mcdonald criteria for multiple sclerosis, Amsterdam criteria for nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, etc.

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4. Clinical decision support system

Clinical decision support systems are computer programs that are interactive and are designed for assisting health care professionals. This system assists the health care professional by giving suggestions to look though and help the specialist or clinician to pick significant information. Furthermore, the software helps to perform a better analysis of the patient’s data rather than a human. 

Types of diagnosis

Diagnosis is somehow a critical step when done on the basis of signs and symptoms as well as a technical function requires a laboratory test report as evidence. More than five types of diagnoses have been reported depending upon how the disease is being diagnosed and how to diagnose a disease. A healthcare professional must have sound knowledge to know about types of diagnosis and diagnostic procedures. These types of diagnoses are mentioned as follows.

  1. Clinical diagnosis: A diagnosis based on medical signs and symptoms instead of any medical test is termed as a clinical diagnosis.
  2. Laboratory diagnosis: A diagnosis which is based on laboratory test results is termed as laboratory diagnosis. The infectious disease usually requires laboratory diagnosis to confirm the causative agent.
  3. Tissue diagnosis: When the diagnosis is made on the basis of macroscopic, microscopic, and molecular examination of tissues for example biopsy, then it is termed as tissue diagnosis.
  4. Radiology diagnosis: A diagnosis significantly based on the outcomes of medical imaging studies is termed as radiology diagnosis
  5. Principal diagnosis: A diagnosis that is most relatable and relevant to the patient’s chief complaint is called principal diagnosis. 
  6. Admitting diagnosis: When diagnosis becomes the reason for admitting a patient is called admitting diagnose.

Diagnostic errors

Although advance medical science influence a lot of diagnosis procedure and have their susceptibility and accuracy still chances of error are there. According to a report of 2015, the majority of people experience diagnostic errors once in a lifetime. Human errors cannot be completely eradicated however it can be minimized to reach a certain level of accuracy and perfections. The causes of diagnostic errors are as follows

  • A not noticeable manifestation of disease
  • A rare disorder or condition
  • Disease with rare symptoms
  • Over consideration to other parts of the diagnosis
  • The disease may be omitted from consideration

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What is overdiagnosis

Overdiagnosis can be defined as a diagnosis of a disease that never causes symptoms or becomes the cause of death during a patient’s lifetime. Definitely overdiagnose is a problem as it cause overutilization and unnecessary treatment that may not be significant. It may cause harm. Overdiagnosis can also be defined as an irrelevant diagnosis of disease. Here diagnosis is correct but irrelevant due to the unavailability of disease,s treatment, or unwanted treatment.

Bottom line

Diagnosis is a fundamental and significant function of health care teams. How to diagnose a disease is definitely the most asked question by medical students. The curiosity of knowing the diagnosis procedures, methods, and types of diagnosis will be completely fulfilled in this article. 

Correct diagnosis and correct diagnosis procedure saves time, energy and avoid patient’s fatigue, while on the other hand helps the health care professionals to start the treatment in the right direction in order to save the life of the patient and restoring health status.