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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
OxPARC

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Diagnoses

Most of the illnesses we treat are “chronic”, lasting many years, sometimes into adulthood. So making a diagnosis is important not only to guide treatment but also to monitor progress and inform you of what to expect.

How do we reach a diagnosis?

Most diagnoses are made by piecing together clinical features identified by examining the patient and looking at their history. Investigations often confirm a diagnosis but very rarely provide the diagnosis in themselves.

Many diagnoses are made at the first visit, but time may be required to observe the evolution of an illness without putting the patient at risk.

Sometimes there is an overlap between diagnoses and time may result in a change of diagnosis. It is therefore natural for us to re-evaluate clinical features at each clinic visit.

What does a particular diagnosis mean?

A diagnosis is often welcomed, especially after a prolonged period of the unknown. But then you are left with all the questions that go with the new diagnosis.

Our A-Z of Diseases and Disorders will tell you more about what a particular diagnosis means. Select a disease to find out more about:

  • How we diagnose it
  • What problems a patient may face
  • The treatments available
  • What to expect in the long term

Not sure what an inflammatory disease is? Find out more about inflammatory diseases and autoimmunity.