The Internet has made information readily available for everyone to access and make use of it; this is why many people think they can diagnose themselves by using online resources.
Nowadays people are becoming more and more aware of their physical and mental states and often try to find out as much as they can on their own through the internet.
This is a real plus point for those in favor of this technology. However, it is essential to keep a few things in mind so that one can differentiate the useful information from the garbage and have a better chance to get a correct diagnosis.
A nuisance or a rare pain? A persistent rash? A pain in the chest? Searching the internet to find out what is happening is already commonplace.
One study suggests that when self-reported symptoms “self-diagnosis” on the internet all too often leads to the conclusion that it is the worst.
Research indicates that people tend to overestimate their own risk of serious illness, contrary to what they would say if they thought about another person’s symptoms.
A heart attack or just gas?
“This is particularly true when the disease is rare,” said Dr. Dengfeng Yan of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
“That is, given the same symptoms, people will overestimate their odds of getting rare (and serious) illnesses compared to other people.”
“We often fear the worst when it comes to our health while maintaining certain objectivity about others,” Yan said.
“If you have chest pain, think of it as a heart attack. If a friend has the same symptoms, he probably says it’s indigestion. ”
But such thinking poses disadvantages, the authors write, often leading to “mistakenly diagnosing oneself as having a severe illness, causing both unnecessary anxiety and extra medical expenses.
“They add that “erroneous self-diagnoses of this type are particularly likely given the ease of access to information on the internet, which often leads consumers to perform ‘symptom-matching’ exercises.”
Where are you getting the information?
For that purpose, the first thing that you need to be aware of is the source of where you are getting all the health-related information. This point cannot be stressed enough.
You should never take a chance when it comes to your health. Always survey the website beforehand. Read the reviews and find out if the information provided on these sites comes from credible sources.
A clear mark of a fake website is in the medical journals that are available on these sites. More often than naught, these journalists do not get attested by any authority, and you would not find these on any reputable website.
Therefore, it would be wise that you ignore any information that you receive from these questionable websites and that you only rely on authentic sources.
Risks of medical self-diagnosis
Do not go to the doctor. It is a high risk not to go to the doctor thinking that you can find all the answers on the internet, when in fact you still need the advice of a professional.
Risk of misdiagnosis. The first chance is that they may miss something subtle but meaningful about the problem, causing them to misdiagnose themselves, possibly with disastrous results.
For example, someone might think they have an anxiety condition of some sort, but a more professional examination may uncover an underlying serious medical problem, such as a heart arrhythmia.
There is not a right way to reduce this kind of risk, except to go to a professional for a professional diagnosis.
Risk of incorrect treatment. The second chance inherent in self-diagnosis and self-treatment is that people can come to treat themselves with methods that do not work at all, are inefficient, or can even cause harm.
For example, someone might try to treat your weight problem with pills prescribed for another person or illegally obtained on the street (Apart from that weight loss pills can lead to an addiction.).
This risk increases when treatments and methods that people consider use are inherently dangerous when misused.
Become a hypochondriac cyber. Many search engine results could let people draw the wrong conclusion about their condition by confusing headaches with brain tumors or stomach pains with heart attacks.
Low reliability. Not all sites on the internet are in the position of being offering medical advice.
While some authority resources can provide valuable opinion, there are even more unscrupulously miracle cures providing or incorrect information
Therefore, self-diagnosis can have substantial negative impacts on the patient.
For this reason, while reading content on the internet can be useful and informative, it is always better to talk to the doctor before deciding on the treatment. Do you know many people who resort to medical self-diagnosis?
The importance of having up to date information
Another crucial point is that you should make sure is if the information that you are receiving is up to date.
We live in a world of scientific advancement; experts continuously research and discover new and improved medical methods and diagnostic techniques.
Therefore, it is of paramount importance that you remain vigilant regarding the date and time of the available information.
Even a few months’ time can be a considerable gap, and you might be depriving yourself of the best possible medical care that is available.
Always consult a certified medical professional
Getting information regarding the symptoms that you have manifested is a healthy habit, and you should try and find out as much as you can.
However, unlike medical professionals we lack the proper training in these fields; therefore we can’t define for sure whether we are suffering from a particular condition or not.
For example, the symptoms of lymphoma and having a cyst are very similar although they are entirely different altogether.
Therefore, it is highly advisable that you take the information that you have gathered to certified medical authority and have a proper diagnosis.
The doctors will carry out the necessary tests that are required, and pinpoint that disease so that you can move on towards the cure.
We would like to conclude this article by again stressing on the fact that although it is an excellent idea that you refer to the internet if you require information regarding any medical condition, you should never start self-treatment.
Always visit an able doctor because you should never put your health in jeopardy.