Information on the internet has made trips to the doctor more complex. While everyone will agree that patients having more information is good, the wrong information can lead both patient and doctor down the road to misdiagnosis.
When you are getting ready to take your symptoms to the doctor’s office to get a diagnosis, reading about what you are experiencing can help you talk to your doctor. It is important, however, to verify what you are reading and whether it applies to your condition.
Here’s how your research can help you talk to your doctor about your symptoms.
Read with a grain of salt
The great part about searching for information about your symptoms online is that you are bound to find someone who has had a similar experience. Instances like these can give you the courage to talk to your doctor and get the help you need. It can also help as you and your doctor consider alternative options.
Remember, however, while someone else’s story may be helpful or inspiring, it is still one person’s experience. There may be details about their treatment or their condition that they did not include in the story.
Resist narrowing your search too much
It is easy to jump straight to the doomsday scenario when it comes to researching your symptoms. All it takes is one search for “causes of headache” to lead to a stream of searches about brain tumors without regard to any other options.
As you start to narrow your search, consider all your symptoms and circumstances. You may find that the symptoms only fit a certain diagnosis when paired with another symptom.
Keep in conversational
Ideally, you and your doctors are on the same team. You want to be healthy, and your doctor wants to help you achieve that goal.
Approach your doctor with your research as part of the conversation, rather than a do-it-yourself diagnosis. As you work together, you can talk about how you came to your conclusions so that you can develop a plan for treatment.