Five Most Misdiagnosed Diseases in the UK

We put our trust in medical practitioners to tell us what’s wrong with our bodies. However, some diseases and illnesses can exhibit signs and symptoms so complex and variable that it’s challenging for health professions to reach a correct diagnosis.

With this in mind, at WIN Wales we’ve revealed the top five most common medical misdiagnosis conditions in the UK.

Top Five Most Common Medical Misdiagnosis Conditions


Certain types of cancer are detectable via screening processes which enable discovery at an early stage (prostate, lung, cervical and breast cancer being examples). Yet this isn’t always the case, and with other types such as pancreatic and kidney cancer, detection is a lot more challenging. Often in these cases, a patient relies on medical professionals to interpret their problematic signs and act accordingly. Unfortunately, some of these cancer types can mimic symptoms akin to other more common conditions which are why cancer misdiagnosis is one of the most misdiagnosed illnesses.

Heart Attack

Often in movies and TV shows, heart attacks are portrayed in the same dramatic way: chest grabbing, extreme pain, collapsing onto the floor. But this isn’t always the case and symptoms can vary from the individual; where one person may experience chest tightness and severe breathing problems, another may only exhibit very subtle discomfort. Subsequently, heart attacks often get mistaken for routine problems like indigestion or even anxiety.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is one of the most common misdiagnosed diseases because it can encompass many symptoms which can vary from person to person. These can include abdominal pain, digestive problems (constipation and diarrhoea), joint pain, headaches, depression, fatigue and nausea. In other scenarios, patients don’t exhibit any symptoms whatsoever which can make it extra challenging to get a correct diagnosis. It is most commonly misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal infections and chronic fatigue syndrome.


The symptoms of a stroke can vary from facial numbness to confusion to issues with mobility and speech. Unfortunately, doctors can overlook the early symptoms and pass them off as vertigo, migraine, or even intoxication. Indeed, recent research carried out in the US revealed that tens of thousands of American stroke victims are misdiagnosed every single year.


Joint pain, stiffness, extreme fatigue, muscle aches, cognitive and memory problems: Fibromyalgia can exhibit a whole host of symptoms. What makes it particularly difficult to diagnose is that many of the symptoms aren’t exclusive to the disease, which is why it so regularly gets mistaken for other conditions such as rheumatic diseases like lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis.