Any chronic illness can be difficult to cope with. When your condition is largely misunderstood or minimized by the medical community and others, life can be especially challenging. Louisiana residents with so-called “invisible” illnesses may feel as if their concerns and struggles are also invisible.

An invisible illness, as Everyday Health explains, is a medical condition that can’t be easily seen or recognized. You may look perfectly healthy to other people as you suffer from chronic pain or while your health deteriorates. Invisible illnesses can encompass a wide range of maladies, including fibromyalgia, Lyme disease and brain trauma, as well as psychological illnesses like depression and PTSD.

In general, people tend to misunderstand or disregard the pain of others if they can’t see they are suffering. For example, you may be chastised for riding a motorized cart at the grocery store if you are in significant fibromyalgia pain, yet you look healthy on the outside. You may even be accustomed to this treatment by others. However, it can be frustrating and even harmful if your doctor treats you the same way. Many members of the medical community don’t fully understand invisible illnesses. They can confuse your symptoms with other conditions or say your suffering is all in your head.

As you may imagine, a missed diagnosis or wrong diagnosis can be devastating to your health and quality of life. If you are diagnosed and treated later, rather than sooner, you may miss out on months or years of treatment that can manage your symptoms and possibly prevent your condition from worsening. Since this topic is complex, the information in this blog should not substitute for legal advice.