Thursday, October 06, 2005

GPs' attitude 'may hinder care'

Where do I fit in? Diagnosed with irritable bowel IBS - or spastic colon as it was known back in the 1980s and now plagued by chronic fatigue, possibly fibromyalgia with all it's joint and muscle pains, brain fog, poor sleep etc etc...
BBC NEWS | Health | GPs' attitude 'may hinder care': "A GP's belief about certain medical conditions may block patients from getting best care, say researchers.

46 GPs studied were asked to discuss a series of clinical scenarios involving patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME... they found some tended to stereotype patients with chronic fatigue syndrome as 'prone to stress'.

In contrast, patients with irritable bowel syndrome were seen to be battling with a debilitating disease.

CFS was officially recognised as a genuine illness in the UK by the Royal Colleges of Physicians and General Practitioners in October 1996.

But some of the GPs tended to view patients with CFS as having certain undesirable traits such as being "introspective" or having a "low symptom threshold".

They saw CFS patients as having "a certain personality trait that is chronic fatigue syndrome waiting to happen".

Rosalind Raine and colleagues suggest the doctors' stereotyping of CFS patients meant they saw the condition less as a discrete disorder, and more as a defining feature of the patient.

Such stereotyping of IBS did not seem to occur.

The study authors suggest one reason why this might be is that it is easier to picture IBS being a physical problem because of it affects a specific part of the body, unlike CFS.

Dr Charles Shepherd, from the ME Association said GPs find CFS a difficult condition to manage.

"Conflicts arise, especially when the GP believes it's psychological rather than physical."

He added that the study authors themselves appeared to advocate psychological interventions for ME, which he said was incorrect.

"The view of the WHO and the department of health is that it's a neurological illness," he said."


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