You know you are sick, but no one can put a name to your illness. You go from doctor to doctor, seeking a diagnosis. You have lost track of the tests that have been done on you and failed to give an answer. People tell you, "It's all in your head." Your medical insurance refuses to pay the bills. You feel all the worse because no one believes that something is really wrong.
Countless people suffer enormous physical, psychological, and financial distress from nameless diseases--any disease that hasn't been diagnosed yet, or whose very existence is a matter of medical controversy: AIDS, in the early 1980s, for example, as well as chronic fatigue syndrome, postpartum depression, premenstrual syndrome, and dyslexia.
Terra Ziporyn, a medical journalist, explains why it can be so hard to find out what's wrong, why it matters so much, and what to do about it. As her examples vividly show, people with nameless diseases often feel that the pain of not knowing is worse than the disease. Anxious to help their patients, doctors sometimes find themselves forced to put a name on a condition they can't identify. Yet, a disease that hasn't been diagnosed correctly cannot be treated effectively. Nameless Diseases draws on the first-hand accounts of real patients, case studies, medical literature, and the history of medicine (which is littered with the names of discarded diseases) to explore all these issues.
Nameless Diseases is compelling reading for anyone who has ever suffered from a medical mystery or seeks to understand the limitations of medical progress. The book includes a list of organizations devoted to education the public about commonly overlooked, unrecognized, rare, or misdiagnosed diseases.