The internet has hundreds of websites on anatomy, health and various conditions. A few clicks on WebMD is a lot faster than actually going to the doctor and sitting around a waiting room. The temptation to self-diagnose is understandable; however, please resist. Here's why:
- One symptom, multiple conditions. Most symptoms occur for more than one condition. For example, fatigue is a symptom of PMS, influenza, some thyroid disorders, fibromyalgia and anemia. These are all very different conditions with different treatments.
- Effective treatment requires the correct diagnosis. Attempting to treat after self-diagnosing may help. However, if the diagnosis isn't correct, it may be counterproductive. For example, a simple mistake with vitamins can be harmful. Adding supplements to a daily routine can be dangerous because the body gets rid of some and stores others, potentially building up toxic levels. For another example, think back to when leeches and blood letting were common medical treatments. While it may be effective in some instances, this practice would also further weaken already ill people.
- Scare factor : high. Websites are set up to show all of the conditions that match, from mild illness to terminal disease. The search engine will bring up everything in between that matches whatever criteria is entered. A few strokes on the keyboard could result in elevated stress - and all of the physical manifestations of stress - on top of whatever is already going on. This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of poor health.
When something goes wrong in the body, a trip to the doctor will at least narrow down the possibilities and start the healing process.