Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Online Medical Advice

There is nothing scarier than having a medical problem and not knowing what it is. You go between thinking the worst, and hoping for the best. When you don’t know what is wrong with you, you feel totally helpless and probably feel very alone, no matter how many people are surrounding you. I have a friend who is going through this very thing right now, and my heart goes out to him. Like most people, his work depends on his health. If something is seriously wrong, he is going to have to leave a job that he loves more than anything. You can get advice anywhere, but some people look for online medical advice when they are faced with the unknown.
When you first realize something may be wrong, you go to see your doctor, but you may not be told very much until a battery of tests are completed. This leaves you wondering, and when this happens, you thirst for answers. You can look for online medical advice to try to guess what is wrong, and to perhaps see if you can find anything your doctor may have missed. There is nothing wrong with this, but when it comes to online medical advice, you really have to be careful about where you go and what you believe.
There are a great many sites on the Internet that offer online medical advice. The problem with this is that most of the sites are not run or overseen by doctors. This can lead to you getting some bad medical advice. I have written quite a few medical articles, but when I do, I make sure that I include a note that says the article is meant to be a guide only, and that a doctor is the only one who can verify or diagnose a medical condition. The articles are for reference only. The problem with online medical advice is that some sites don’t include this disclaimer.
The best way to use online medical advice is to use it for research only. Never take what you find as a concrete answer. Do your research, print out what you find interesting or relevant, and then present that information to your doctor for discussion. They should go over it with you, and help you answer some of your questions. There is a lot of good online information out there, but don’t take everything you read as being truth. Your doctor should be your guide in any medical situation, and you should never believe or try anything without talking it over with them first.