Three reasons why you should avoid self-diagnosing your symptoms

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Replacing a trip to the clinic with a quick Google search always seems like a genius idea at the time – you won’t need to get dressed or spend hours looking for your health-care card. But self-diagnosing your symptoms can be harmful and counterproductive for several reasons.

However, using a trustworthy online database to determine whether you need to schedule an appointment with your doctor or visit a hospital is encouraged. Next time you feel the innate urge to diagnose yourself solely based on Google’s suggestions, consider the following:

You may give yourself anxiety

According to iMD Health, a destination for digital health education, approximately 83 per cent of Canadians use the Internet to try and self-diagnose a symptom. Furthermore, 47 per cent of patients end up feeling anxious as a result of their Internet findings. Despite what you may think, your access to Google does not make you a qualified doctor.

By experiencing anxiety, you could be weakening your immune system, which might worsen the symptoms you’ve been noticing.

You can avoid facing unnecessary health-related anxiety by consulting a reliable, online health education platform before seeing your physician. Information stored within the iMD Health library is collected through partnerships with more than 60 reputable health associations and from the Mayo Clinic.

You could miss something that is important

Unless you attended medical school, it’s unlikely that you’re able to correctly identify all of your symptoms. Even though the Internet holds an excess of useful information, results from iMD Health’s survey showed that a mere three percent of people’s self-diagnoses were accurate.

Along with accidentally overlooking an important symptom, many people deny or have difficulty acknowledging that something is, in fact, wrong. This can happen when people are experiencing mental health issues or symptoms they believe are embarrassing.

It can make your doctor’s job more difficult

The trusting relationship between you and your physician is vital to ensuring that you receive the highest level of care. When you self-diagnose, your doctor may feel that you are challenging their knowledge and minimizing the importance of their role.

The iMD Health platform states that 59 per cent of patients bring information from the Internet to the consultation room for discussion. Many doctors prefer that their patients avoid consulting Google since the information discovered can be incorrect or lead them astray. If you’re absolutely unable to wait until your appointment, doctors prefer that you search for information through a health platform with medically vetted content.

Either way, you should never let your preliminary research get in the way of listening to their professional opinion.

The relationship between a doctor and a self-diagnosing patient can become strained when the patient refuses to consider an alternate diagnosis. It’s extremely important that you always approach your physician with an open mind and willingness to learn as this will create a positive relationship.

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