Telling Gout from Gonorrhoea

Monday, February 28th, 2011

 

Differential diagnosis paradigm. From: rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org

Differential diagnosis paradigm. From: rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org

The past year’s happenings – in my professional and personal lives – have me thinking about the idea of a “differential diagnosis”. In medicine, this refers to a list of the most common possible diseases likely responsible for a particular symptom or complaint. Ultimately, to help the patient, the list must be reduced to one disease process and that must then be treated.

Thus, the title of this post: Both Gout and Gonorrhoea can present to the physician with a single swollen, painful joint. It is up to the clinician to tease out (using history, physical examination and tests) what is ailing the patient and then treat that appropriately.

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