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Differential Diagnosis

Differential Diagnosis

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Most health diseases exhibit similar symptoms making the process diagnosis quite a hectic procedure. The physician involved must always weigh the probabilities of each possible cause of a patient's discomfort to ascertain the actual cause. In medicine, each option of a possible disease is a differential diagnosis (Bisno et al. 2002). A process of elimination is usually used to reduce the chances of each viable diagnostic option to an almost negligible level. Additional symptoms, patient history, and medical knowledge are also required in making a final diagnosis (Shulman et al. 2012).

A sore throat is probably the leading cause for hospital visits in children and adolescents especially in winter or falls (Martin, n.d.). In medicine, sore throat is referred to as pharyngitis and can be a sign of many diseases. It should be noted that a sore throat in itself is not a disease. Common causes of sore throats are viral, and bacterial infections save for a few other agents. While some cases of sore throats need medical attention to treat, most of them go away after a short while without any treatment (Martin, n.d.). These could be out of dry winter air and using a humidifier can always help. The most prevalent differential diagnoses for pharyngitis can be grouped into three broad categories as viral, bacterial and other causes such as allergies and acid reflux (Shulman et al. 2012). In practice, viruses are the most common causes of acute inflammation of the pharynx and makeup to 80% of these infections (Shulman et al. 2012). Respiratory viruses such as rhinovirus, influenza virus, adenovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus are the frequent cases. Taking antibiotics will not help with viral infections. In an almost similar manner, Group A streptococci are the most common but other such as Group C, and G streptococci and C diphtheria are also frequent (Bisno, 2002).

The most probable suggestions for a person suffering from an inflaming pharynx are common cold, mononucleosis and strep throat. In cases of cold, this condition is also accompanied by sneezing, watery eyes, cough, mild temperatures, slight headaches and body pains (Shulman et al. 2012). Cold may last a few days to a week, but coughing might persist for much longer.

Mononucleosis presents a more severe sore throat that could last for up to ten days though fatigue may continue for 4 to 12 weeks. Other symptoms include swollen and sore lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groins, headache, swollen tonsils, loss of appetite, rash, swollen liver or spleen, sore abdomen and fever (Shulman et al. 2012). They also provide the classic symptoms of strep throat to include swollen neck glands, white patches on tonsils, fever, and no coughs. In light of the above differential symptoms, the physician can narrow down on the final diagnosis through elimination. If no final diagnosis is made with certainty other possible causes can be considered. The paper wound up on cold, mononucleosis and strep throat since they are considered the most prevalent. Laboratory tests such as throat culture and RATD can also be used in conjunction with epidemiological and clinical examination to provide adequate confirmation (Bisno, 2002).

References

Bisno, A. L., Gerber, M. A., Gwaltney, J. M., Kaplan, E. L., & Schwartz, R. H. (2002).

Practice guidelines for diagnosis and management of group A streptococcal pharyngitis. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 35(2), 113-125. Martin, J. M. Sore Throat (Pharyngitis). Shulman, S. T., Bisno, A. L., Clegg, H. W., Gerber, M. A., Kaplan, E. L., Lee, G., ... & Van Beneden, C. (2012).

Clinical practice guideline for diagnosis and management of group A streptococcal pharyngitis: 2012 update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clinical infectious diseases, cis629.


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