It’s tempting to try to diagnose yourself with all of the resources that are available on the internet. However, self-diagnosis – whether assisted by websites on the internet or medical encyclopedias – is greatly prone to error.
Doctors go through years of medical school and in-person training with real patients before they are allowed to actually practice medicine, because diagnosing and treating various health conditions is such a complicated endeavor. Self-diagnosis can easily lead to a misdiagnosis, which may prove to be harmful to your well-being.
Flaws of Consulting the Internet
There are many sites on the internet where you can access information about a particular disease. They list a general description of that disease, common symptoms, and how to cure or treat it.
There are even some websites that have quizzes presented with a series of personal questions to help you figure out your health condition. After answering everything, you will receive an instant result with one or several conditions that correlate with your combination of symptoms.
The problem with quizzes like these is that they do not conduct a full analysis of your health profile like a physician would, nor do they provide a complete picture of the disease or health condition. The symptoms listed on these sites are the most common, but not all symptoms are there. They also don’t take into account the subtleties of each condition.
Take, for example, depression. One of its symptoms is a loss of energy when it comes to spending time with people or doing one’s daily activities. An online quiz that checks for depression can ask multiple questions about one’s energy levels or whether they quickly get tired, but these symptoms may indicate many different conditions.
Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms using his or her many years of training and experience in diagnosing various health conditions. In this example, your tiredness may actually indicate a sleeping disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, or an underlying health issue that only an MRI or CT scan would reveal. And you can’t give yourself an MRI or CT scan.
Why Do I Need a Doctor to Diagnose Me?
You don’t have to get a medical checkup to find out whether you have a normal fever or a cough, as long as there are no other unusual symptoms. However, anything that is out of the ordinary calls for an evaluation by a medical professional.
If self-diagnosis via the internet leads you to seek professional help, then the web can truly be a beneficial tool. Never treat internet information as providing a firm diagnosis, but rather as a stepping stone – or to use as helpful information after a diagnosis.
Once you are diagnosed, a doctor can provide a prescription to help relieve or stop your symptoms. You may also be prescribed a certain type of rehabilitation or exercises to provide relief without even requiring medication. A trained doctor knows what to do and how to help you – there’s no need to spend hours of further research to try to diagnose yourself.
Get Diagnosed Professionally
Self-diagnosis by researching your symptoms via the internet can be helpful if it encourages you to seek advice by a medical doctor. If you’re experiencing any unusual symptoms, consult a professional as soon as possible. The sooner you receive a diagnosis, the sooner you can be treated.
Call SC Internal Medicine Associates and Rehabilitation today at (803) 749-1111 and schedule an appointment with one of our caring doctors. You can also fill out an appointment request form here. We look forward to assisting you and helping you feel better again.