A WOMAN who was told her symptoms were just hay fever was shocked when a trip to Boots revealed the truth.
Karolina Barnes, 43, from Kent, suffered from itchy eyes and headaches like many with plant allergies.
His GP told him he probably had “year-round hay fever”, The Telegraph reported.
“Even when I just had a headache, they still said it was hay fever,” Karolina said.
But things escalated in 2007, when Karolina felt as if something was stuck in her eye and became unsteady on her feet.
She said: “I started to feel like there was something in my right eye, like a constant eyelash.
“Then one day I was picking up my eldest daughter Natalie from school and I tripped. There was a step I hadn’t seen.
“When I got home and took my glasses off, I realized my vision was really blurry.”
Karolina, a brand strategist, was pregnant with her second child and her symptoms had started to worsen eight weeks ago.
She claims her GP told her it was “just hormonal” and that it would “settle down”.
“He fired me,” Karolina recalled.
A month later, when the mum-of-two’s eyesight worsened, she went into her local Boots for an eye test.
She said: “The optician examined me and said ‘you need to go straight to hospital'”.
The eye specialist had found something worrying and at the hospital, Karolina was told she might have MS.
They didn’t order an MRI for another month, which is when the severity of his condition became apparent.
A 6 cm meningioma tumor was found in his brain.
Meningiomas are tumors that start in the layers of tissue (meninges) that cover the brain and spinal cord, explains Cancer Research UK.
If my doctor had picked it up right away, maybe things wouldn’t be like this
Karolina says doctors believe her brain tumor had been growing since she was a teenager, but pregnancy hormones caused it to flare up.
Surgery was not possible because the tumor was around his optic nerve, which is critical for vision.
But Karolina lost her eye sight and blames the delay in her diagnosis.
He said: “I lost six weeks in which my sight could have been saved. But it was too late. Now I’m blind in that eye.
“My GP sent me a letter of apology, but I felt very angry. And the more I spoke to people, the more I realized I’m not the only one who’s been misdiagnosed.”
What are the symptoms of a brain tumor
- Vision or speech problems
- Behavioral changes
The gender health gap
Karolina was one of the many women who have fallen victim to the gender health gap.
She said: “I know GPs are under pressure but when women raise issues we are put off. It’s like ‘you’re too emotional or too dramatic, don’t worry’.
“I try to have a normal life, but in the end I’m living with ‘wait and see’. It’s stressful. If my doctor had picked him up right away, maybe things wouldn’t be like this.”
It is not surprising that women do not feel listened to by doctors, which means that they cannot access the right care.
The government is taking action to reduce the gap between men’s and women’s healthcare in the UK.
Under the Vision For The Women’s Health Strategy for England, doctors will be pushed further to tackle sex-specific health problems such as menopause, cancers and endometriosis.
Their call for evidence found that 84% of women reported incidents of not being heard from health professionals.
Health Secretary Maria Caulfield said: “There are deep issues we need to tackle to ensure women receive the same standards of care as men. This strategy is the start of that journey.”
Women across the UK fear they are not getting the right medical advice from doctors, with 22% believing it is because of their gender.
Around 49% of women believe this is because doctors don’t listen to them, according to research by digital health platform Livi.
The survey’s findings support previous studies over the past decade.
In 2016, the Brain Tumor Charity warned that women were twice as likely to wait more than a year for a diagnosis than men.
The women were dismissed as attention-seeking, “tired,” prescribed antibiotics, said to be suffering from panic attacks, or simply ignored.
A study from the University of Leeds showed that women were 59% more likely to be misdiagnosed after a heart attack than men and had more than twice the rate of dying within 30 days of the heart attack. heart attack
Their symptoms were more likely to be attributed to problems such as indigestion or a sore throat.
Research from the University of Cambridge found that women have to go through many more doctor appointments before receiving a diagnosis of bladder or kidney cancer.
US research has found that women have to wait longer for painkillers when they are rushed to hospital.
Part of the problem is a lack of scientific understanding of how the conditions affect women differently than men, due to research historically using men in research.
A key example of the gaps in knowledge about women’s health is endometriosis, a painful condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows elsewhere in the body, but behaves in the same way.
The average time it takes a woman to receive a diagnosis of the disease is seven to eight years.
Four out of ten women have to see their GP 10 times before being referred to a specialist.
The condition affects one in ten women, making it as common as diabetes in the UK.
The Women’s Health Strategy is committed to reducing waiting times in women’s health, including the diagnosis of endometriosis.
It will strive to break “taboo topics” in women’s health, such as those affecting their reproductive health.
Along with better training of doctors, the strategy will expand health centers, education in schools and make IVF more accessible.
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