The dangers of self-diagnosis

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The internet has given us access to millions of information sources on every imaginable subject, and healthcare is no exception. We currently have invaluable resources to help us better understand how our bodies work and what to do to stay healthy. However, no information source found online can replace the personalized healthcare of a medical provider. This is why we should be very careful with what we read online and avoid self-diagnosing without talking with a doctor. Here we explain why.

The internet does not know your medical history.

There are many reliable sources of information online. But you should keep in mind that a lot of this information is made available for general reference and is not intended to provide a diagnosis. It is impossible to accurately diagnose a health condition without proper training or without the full context of the patient’s symptoms, medical history, risk factors, etc. An internet page has no way of knowing all of this. Reading to stay informed is fine, but avoid making treatment decisions without consulting with your doctor first.

An information overload can lead to anxiety.

There are certain online resources that suggest possible causes or conditions based on the symptoms you’re experiencing. The problem with using these tools is that, since they don’t know your particular circumstances, they usually return all possible causes and conditions, from the mildest to the most serious. Therefore, instead of helping us arrive at a diagnosis, they often tend to cause us anxiety, making us believe we have a serious condition even though it’s more likely that we don’t. Only a doctor can ask you the questions and run the relevant tests to diagnose a health condition.

Use the internet as a starting point, not as a definitive conclusion.

Being informed is good, and the internet has lots of reliable sources that can improve your knowledge on countless healthcare subjects. The key is recognizing their limitations and avoiding making decisions without having a doctor’s diagnosis first. Self-diagnosing and treating ourselves inadequately –or even worse, not getting any treatment at all— can complicate your symptoms and do harm in the long term. It is better to trust a doctor, who has the necessary knowledge and experience to identify health conditions and establish the most effective courses of treatment.

At Salus, we have generalists and specialists ready to take care of you. Make your appointment today by calling 787.789.1996.

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