Rods and cones are missing exactly where the optic nerve leaves the retina. This site is called the papilla or blind spot. Perhaps it would have been better to indicate the opposite part of the visual field, since this is where the blind spot actually appears. However, we are not aware of this because our brain fills in this missing part of our field of vision.
Our medical knowledge is full of blind spots. Doctors know they don’t know everything – and most importantly, they don’t know everything either – but their brains are very good at hiding it. Anything that cannot be explained can be categorized by some kind of label. This certainly does not detract from medicine, because the bewildering results that cannot be hidden under terms such as “functional”, “essential”, etc., make clinicians uncomfortable.
Sometimes you wish such a baffling discovery would never surface. Unfortunately, this fate befell 30-year-old Natasha. She suffered from fatigue and headaches. Then the doctors quickly talk about “ambiguous complaints” and here the problem begins: firstly, patients do not experience their complaints as ambiguous at all, and secondly, the word “vague” has something doubtful. Patients quickly notice that they are not being taken seriously.
Natasha was not anemic, but her ferritin was very low. In 1982 dedicated Dutch Journal of Medicine a Article by Ferritin. Few doctors have heard of this protein, which stores iron in the body. However, within four decades, ferritin had become a mainstay in anemia research. Informed patients also know this. With willing GPs present, they can arrange a lab resolution by email or phone.
“Blind spots in medical knowledge are ideal for private clinics and alternative therapists”
Natasha’s vague complaints led directly to this nasty blind spot. Very low ferritin is rarely seen without anemia or never seen in general practices. The explanation is simple: ferritin is usually only identified in anemia. Natasha made it very difficult for her doctor. After a course of hard disks, the level of hemoglobin (hemoglobin) rose but ferritin fell to a lower level. This wouldn’t suit me as a doctor.
For now, Natasha’s assistant physician advised to continue taking steel tablets.
When doctors are faced with a blind spot in their medical knowledge, we can assume that patients in this case have the necessary questions. So Natasha: Is there a connection between her complaint and the lab results, why is her ferritin so low and – above all – what is the treatment for that?
Blind spots in medical knowledge are ideal for private clinics and alternative therapists. Regular doctors aren’t keen on sending patients here. But patients with vague complaints feel they have been let down. It is also now known in regular medicine that very low ferritin levels without anemia can cause fatigue and headaches. Hope hangs on an iron dose in a private clinic…
“Total coffee specialist. Hardcore reader. Incurable music scholar. Web guru. Freelance troublemaker. Problem solver. Travel trailblazer.”