Do you often search the Internet and do selfdiagnosing health concerns rather than visit a real doctor?

Many people find it not only inconvenient to take time off work to see a doctor, but also costly.  As a result, it is very common for those who suspect they have a medical condition to turn to the internet for answers.  Have you ever heard someone say “I have a brain tumor!” or  “I’m having a heart attack!” or “I’m dying!?”  Perhaps you’ve even been the one sitting at your desk thinking something similar after researching a medical issue online. Self-diagnosing has become more and more prevalent ever since the internet has been around. One study showed that one in three Americans have used the internet to get more information about medical conditions. Of those, 59% have used the internet to get health information within the last year. What happened to making an appointment and going to the doctor’s office?

Life has gotten so busy that people need convenience. Self-diagnosing saves everyone time and money without making a trip to their doctor’s office, which could be weeks out. Most people feel that if they can resolve their issue with over-the-counter medicines then why wouldn’t they? Also, some symptoms can be very embarrassing for a person to talk about with the doctor. On that note, many would prefer to be completely honest about their symptoms and remain in the privacy of their own home which creates a “self-diagnoser.”

What are the dangers of self-diagnosing?  The major danger of self-diagnosing would be a misdiagnosis or getting the wrong information about your medical condition. For example, people have been known to mistake headaches for brain tumors and stomach pain for a heart attack. As we know, the treatments for each of these examples would be completely different than the actual medical condition. If you are only going only by an assumption and don’t confirm what your condition is, you could be addressing the wrong problem and potentially making the original health issue much worse. Some of the other dangers include not being physically assessed by a doctor, missing important factors that we can’t see and becoming a “cyberchondriac” as Vigorate Health calls it.

At the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry and take the time off work to see a physician.  People are strongly discouraged to self-diagnose. If you do self-diagnose, please seek the advice of a professional to confirm your condition. After all, doctors don’t spend years of time and training for nothing.

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