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5 Poorly Understood Medical Conditions

Katherine Jackman

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The medical community is filled with hard-working, dedicated professionals that specialise in particular areas and carry out research into the countless medical conditions that can impact on people’s lives. While we have come to be very knowledgeable about certain conditions and are constantly making advancements in treatments, there remain lots of conditions that the medical community does not yet understand completely due to limited research options or the complexity of the illnesses in question. Here are some of the most poorly understood medical conditions out there and how they impact on people’s lives.

  1. Rosacea

Though Rosacea is actually quite common, with 1 in 10 people estimated to have it, it is poorly understood in the medical community. Rosacea is a skin condition that can cause flushing in the face, but it can also lead to stinging and burning sensations in the affected area or even a permanent discolouration to the face. Generally the condition can be controlled through treatment but there is no immediate cure, and the exact cause of the condition isn’t known either.

  1. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Commonly known as CRPS, this condition can cause frequent and sometimes debilitating pain in the affected area, which is usually an injured limb. The condition affects women more than men and can sometimes clear up by its own accord, but in other cases people have to live with it for the rest of their lives. There are options available for CRPS treatment but no known cure at present. Organisations like Burning Nights have been working to raise awareness for the condition through sales and activism.

  1. Migraines and Cluster Headaches

Headaches in general is a complicated area of medicine due to the fact that the causes of headaches are numerous and everyone experiences them differently. Migraines can be particularly debilitating and cluster headaches can be extremely intense and exhausting, affecting the way a person lives. Headaches of this nature can be triggered by various things, from bright lights to drinking too much caffeine every day, so pinning down the exact cause can be quite difficult.

  1. Depression and Anxiety

Our history with mental health is not as good as it should be; in fact many people still hold the view that depression is not a ‘real’ illness at all. This stigma is incredibly damaging, with the perception that people suffering from depression just need to ‘get over it’ and think positively, despite the fact that such conditions are caused by imbalances in your brain chemistry. Awareness has led to some improvements, but there’s a long way to go yet.

  1. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Also known as ME, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome causes a persisting feeling of exhaustion in a person and can’t be improved through rest and relaxation the way it would if you’d simply had a long day. The NHS website claims that around 250,000 people in the UK suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and, like CRPS, is more common in women. While the cause is still unknown, the condition can be divided into three categories: mild, moderate and severe and has been potentially linked to various health issues, from a viral infection to stress and emotional trauma.

Awareness is vital to improving our understanding of these conditions, and it’s fascinating to see just how many common medical conditions are not yet well understood. Thankfully the medical community is always moving forward, and hopefully we will begin to see some positive changes for CRPS sufferers and people experiencing other complex conditions.


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