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7 Commonly Misdiagnosed Illnesses

Know the symptoms and what to do about them

6. Celiac disease

An autoimmune disorder marked by an inability to digest gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley

Symptoms: Vomiting, abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, leg cramps

gluten free foods and celiac Commonly Misdiagnosed Illnesses

A diet of gluten-free grains can be used to treat celiac disease. — Photo by Kathleen Brennan/Getty Images

Mimics: Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis

Tests: Blood tests can detect high levels of certain antibodies; roughly 10 percent of people with celiac disease, however, test negative for it. Plus: small-intestine-sample biopsy, genetic (DNA) tests.

7. Chronic fatigue syndrome

A complex disorder with a combination of symptoms of unknown cause

Symptoms: Loss of memory or concentration, sore throat, painful lymph nodes in neck or armpits, unexplained muscle and joint pain, extreme exhaustion

Mimics: Sinus problems, hepatitis, fibromyalgia, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis

Tests: No lab or other diagnostic procedures exist to confirm the presence of chronic fatigue syndrome. Diagnosis is based on exclusion of similar disorders.

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AARP's David Certner discusses Medicare and fiscal cliff on NBC. Increasing the eligibility age could cost you — and others.

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