Increasing numbers of people using the internet to diagnose themselves poses serious health risks. Websites such as WebMD receive around 30 million users a month. According to the Bupa Health Pulse survey, about 58% of people self-diagnose using online information.
However, only 25% of these people checked to see if the information they were reading was correct. Detrimental effects may occur when taking treatment advice from a non-certified online source, possibly leading to either of two scenarios. The first is following an incorrect treatment, such as applying random ‘remedies’ on infections, which may aggravate the medical condition further. The second is that the treatment followed is for one illness when you could be undergoing another, which unwillingly delays the time to get treatment, or may arbitrarily worsen the undiagnosed medical condition.
Additionally, many tend to believe they have the worst condition. Usually many common complaints show a myriad of illnesses, and some people may unjustifiably jump to the worst conclusion. This causes people to suffer anxiety and waste time and money on unnecessary tests or treatments, says the British Medical Association. On the reverse side, a person may mistake a serious illness for a mild one, like kidney stones as mere indigestion, and may continue to ignore it until it starts to affect their daily lives.
Dr. Ravisankar Pillai, Specialist Urologist, states that although many understand the information, many don’t know how to analyze it. He likens that situation to a story by Ernest Hemmingway, where a boy believes he will die from a fever of 102 degrees since doesn’t realize is that it’s in Fahrenheit. Having medical knowledge and knowing how to apply are what differentiate a doctor from a regular person.
If it helps, you may even bring the information read online to the consultation, where the doctor will help clarify which parts may have been non-factual. Dr. Amr Rashad, Specialist Radiologist says that showing a doctor what you fear is your condition can help them select the right tests to clear away your fears or to detect a problem early in the process.
To schedule an appointment at Royal Bahrain Hospital, call 1724 6800.