Fat Folder Syndrome

If you have health problems with several different body systems, and tests reveal little or nothing wrong with you, check out your breathing.

In the days of paper medical files, people who had lots of visits to their doctor or lots of medical tests that showed very little, were sometimes deemed to have the 'fat folder syndrome'.

Needing many tests may start as a result of experiencing chest pain for example. Chest pain could be due to any number of things that include a blocked artery, heart disease, indigestion, muscular strain, or hyperventilation. Not knowing which it is, you visit your doctor in the hope that it is the spicy food you ate last night. Giving you a thorough examination, your doctor sends you to a specialist for some tests that reveal nothing of importance, but the results are filed in your medical record. A few weeks later, you are sad because of a recent bereavement, and your response to the loss seems extreme, so you now visit another specialist to check on your mental health. You are given the all clear there as well, but the specialist's report now sits on your medical file.

As time goes by, you still get the chest pain from time to time and your stomach plays up as well, so you have some more tests to see if there is anything wrong. Discussions with friends or family about your symptoms, and the reading you do on the subject can lead to a low-grade background fear and more visits to your doctor, who sends you for more tests, all of which are negative.

This is the fat folder syndrome, where you have numerous medical tests that are often for different body parts or systems, and the results never show anything conclusive to be causing the symptoms. To add to the turmoil you become convinced that the whole world imagines that you are a hypochondriac or because you seldom feel really well, that you have a major illness that has not been found because the doctors are looking for the wrong cause.

Why not take the test and see if you might have chronic low-grade hyperventilation, which is causing all these medical tests.

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