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3 Reasons to seek a doctor before self-diagnosis on the internet

3 Reasons to seek a doctor before self-diagnosis on the internet

Self-diagnostics using mobile applications, biometric data, and medical information available on the internet are becoming increasingly common. But does it really work?

Real case: Friday night, during dinner, touch the cell phone. I listen and hear a desperate cry. Frightened, I ask: "who is". Without answer and thinking that it is virtual abduction, I will disconnect when I listen: "I will die !!!", to which I respond: "Who are you and why are you going to die?". Finally, my interlocutor, the patient of a colleague whose vacation I covered, explains: she made a brain resonance without indication and on her own and the report mentioned: "gliosis." Ignoring the term, went to Dr. Google finding it to be a progressive, incurable, intractable and fatal disease. The result "I spent the night explaining that" gliosis foci "are only examination findings with no greater significance and she would not die of this.

It is for cases like this that we need to punctuate some facts about self-diagnosis:

1. Symptoms often overlap with other pathologies and confuse even the most well-trained physician, so that a simple headache can range from sinusitis to subarachnoid hemorrhage. the layman, even striving to seek reliable sources, is not equipped to differentiate them, for he does not have the experience, the discernment, or the language to extract the correct and relevant data from these sources. He usually misunderstands them in context of their own experience and this is not demerit, as doctors try to write contracts, or architects decide to perform macroeconomic analyzes. languages ​​specific to each area significantly compromise their understanding.

2. Self-analysis can be completely biased.

Another crucial point is analytical objectivity. Dr. William Osler, considered the father of modern medicine, said: "The doctor who treats himself has a fool as a patient." When you analyze your own signs and symptoms, they hitch a ride without you noticing their fears, anxieties, preferences, and various other biases that can derail the most objective reasoning. A personal example that corroborates this statement is that in my fourth year of medicine , even without a tendency to hypochondria, I remember not thinking about having well more than three or four of the hundreds of diseases I studied. Yes, we are fearful and impressionable beings and how does this manifest? Avoiding those diagnoses that we fear, even when probable, or treatments that frighten us, even when indicated. It is therefore much more effective and safe to delegate these decisions to a third party not directly affected by the result.

3. The results are not always reliable

On the other side of the equation, if we analyze the results listed by regular search engines, we will see that the main criterion is not its scientific solidity, but the fact that the link is sponsored or the number of hits, weakly associated with the credibility of the information. Thus, in seeking answers, patients are often exposed to questionable data or propaganda, the implementation of which may have deleterious impacts on their health. Typical examples of this type of practice are "detoxification" therapies, diets for weight loss, supplements for staying strong and beautiful without exertion, aphrodisiacs of all kinds, promotion of "natural" products that cure all diseases and so on.

So, what can we conclude?

It is because of this that seldom does a self-diagnosis survive a specialized questioning. Again, laymen are not required to be proficient diagnosticians, nothing in medicine is simple or straightforward, and it is therefore appropriate to go back to the initial example and ask: Was it worth the intense anguish of the patient who misdiagnosed herself? This diagnosis, we are all enabled to do.


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