Are You Making Yourself Sick? Reasons Not To Diagnose Yourself And Your Issues On WebMD
Eighty percent of us look up health information online. So I know I’m not the only one who’s looked up a random pain and ended up convinced it was cancer. But assuming the worst isn’t the only reason you shouldn’t diagnose yourself online.
You’re Going To Assume The Worst
When given a choice between strep throat and throat cancer, it turns out that most of us pick the most dangerous illness. It’s just human nature.
The Stress Isn’t Worth It
What do you do after you diagnose something horrible? Worry, worry, worry. And that kind of anxiety can have consequences…
You Can Make Yourself Really Sick
Stress-induced illness is a real thing. You can literally worry yourself sick fretting about an illness that might be all in your head.
If you don’t have a great insurance plan, running back and forth to the doctor with e-diagnoses that end up being nothing at all can add up.
And Your Doctor Might Stop Believing You
Dr. Kevin Pho of KevinMD.com said, “many physicians are a little apprehensive when that stereotypical patient comes to their office with big stacks of printouts from the Internet.” Become a revolving door patient and your doctor may take your issues less seriously.
Or You Could Write-Off A Serious Illness
The opposite of making a mountain out of a molehill is ignoring symptoms that you self-diagnose as minor. Without an expert opinion, you could be allowing a bad situation to get worse.
You Might Be Looking In The Wrong Place
When the “this might be Ebola” anxiety strikes, you shouldn’t stop at WebMD. That can lead you to a lot of misleading information on the web. If you just have to look, doctors recommend that you stick to websites that end in .edu, .gov or .org
Your Fellow Browsers Can’t Help You
Forums feel like a good place to discuss symptoms with people who seem like they know. Unless you stumble into a group like this one where people decided that bleach and Pine-Sol made for a sensible pregnancy test.
Medical Diseases Mimic Psychiatric Ones
Random fits of anxiety can sound like a panic disorder online. But it could also be a symptom of an irregular heartbeat. And while you sign up for sessions at a psychiatrist’s office, you could be overlooking a medical matter that needs attention.
There Are Better Ways To Use The Web
Rather than Googling your symptoms, why not check them? Apps like Bloodnote and Tap & Track allow you to keep a record of your blood pressure, heart rate, weight and other vitals. This kind of data is great for keeping track of your health — or to take to your doctor if you’ve been feeling off.
You’re Putting Off The Inevitable
When you have an ailment that won’t go away, it’s better just to make a doctor’s appointment than log online. Web info can’t help you get better.
WebMD Is Good For Research
Once you’ve made an appointment, use sites like WebMD to come up with questions for your doctor or strategies to temporarily relieve your symptoms.
But Save Your Research For After The Diagnosis
After a doctor checks you out, ask a few follow-up questions to figure out why your diagnosis doesn’t fit.