Valenzuela Law Firm, PA | Trial Attorney
Attorney Henry E. Valenzuela

Can your weight lead to an asthma misdiagnosis?

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

If you are carrying a few extra pounds, you are far from alone. In fact, according to a recent survey from WebMD, almost half of Americans claim to have gained weight between March 2020 and April 2021. While shedding your excess weight is an admirable goal, being overweight may make you increasingly vulnerable to a medical misdiagnosis.

Asthma is a chronic medical condition that complicates breathing in a couple of different ways. First, the narrow passageways inside your lungs constrict, making it more difficult for air to move through them. At the same time, your body produces extra mucus, further impairing your ability to breathe.

The link between obesity and asthma misdiagnoses

Those in the body-positivity movement have long warned of the biases overweight Americans face when trying to access health care. The problem may be particularly dangerous for asthma sufferers, though.

Because excess weight can make it difficult for a person to breathe, doctors may be too quick to blame breathing difficulties on obesity. If your doctor does this, though, your life may be in extreme danger. That is, if you have an asthma attack, you may die or suffer catastrophic injuries.

The responsible way to diagnose asthma

Rather than telling you to lose weight and sending you on your way, your physician should address your concerns. If you have asthma symptoms, your doctor also should use available tools to make a diagnosis. These may include physical exams, lung-function tests, lab tests and imaging.

Ultimately, because asthma is usually manageable with the correct diagnosis and treatment plan, you may be eligible for financial compensation for any injuries you suffer because of your doctor’s obesity bias.