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The Importance of a Professional Diagnosis Rather than Online Answers

We have all done it at times. We start to feel unwell and look for answers to our symptoms online. That said, the practice of self-diagnosis should be avoided at all costs.

Author:Karan Emery
Reviewer:Stefano Mclaughlin
Jul 01, 2022
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557.3K Views
We have all done it at times. We start to feel unwell and look for answers to our symptoms online. That said, the practice of self-diagnosis should be avoided at all costs.
There are many reasons to avoid self-diagnosis for symptoms online,and those have been detailed in a previous article. But, in general, searching for signs online and solutions to those symptoms can be very misleading, add anxiety, and may be entirely wrong in the prognosis.

Problems Associated With Online Self-diagnosis May Include:

  • Diagnosing the wrong symptoms
  • Misleading information
  • Adding to the anxiety of your illness
  • Incorrect advice to address symptoms
The problem with googling your health symptoms online is that you may be getting unreliable or unrelated medical advice that may also be overlooking more severe health issues. By self-diagnosing online, you may convince yourself of your symptoms and avoid professional expert opinions that may have severe health impacts.
If you feel sick, it’s best practice to consult your healthcare provider or an urgent care center to help diagnose your problem accurately this holiday season. Even with instances of a minor ailment, having a professional examination is critical to prevent additional health issues. For example if you need spine surgery, speak to an expert such as Dr Richard Parkinsonwho is a specialist in the field.
That said, there are some examples of self-diagnosis to prepare you on how to best communicate with your Primary Care Physician.
For example, if you think you may be pregnant, an at-home test can give you an initial reading, though there are both false positives and false negatives, and only your OB-GYN can answer you for sure.
Another self-diagnosis to prepare you for more accurate follow-ups is when you feel cold or flu symptoms coming on. Again, taking an at-home COVID testwill give you a head’s up on whether you should take an antigen test for more accurate results.
But, again, these at-home tests may provide a false-positive or false-negative, so it’s best to get a test administered at a local testing site.
Especially in older patients, improper or misdiagnosis symptomsof serious illness can often be masked by more common signs of lesser diseases. Using an in-home kit to check for COVID, for example, is just a primer for a professional test.

Seven Examples Of Severe Disease That Mimic Common Illnesses

For many Americans, seven commonly misdiagnosed diseases need professional observation and examination to determine if the individual has the disease or not.

Lupus

Lupus is a rare disorder that is an inflammation in the body. It is a chronic condition meaning that it will continue and is manageable but not treatable. Lupus symptoms include fatigue, joint pain, and rashes, which may cause lung, heart, and liver damage and are discovered through specific blood work analysis.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that causes loss of motor control. It may simulate Alzheimer’s, stroke symptoms, or traumatic head injury and is diagnosed through extensive clinical observation.

Fibromyalgia

This disorder is a chronic, arthritic-like disease that has constant pain associated with it. It mimics Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and has anxiety, depression, and lasting pain as symptoms.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by a tick bite and can mimic respiratory diseases and Chronic Fatigue, depression, the flu, and mononucleosis. It is diagnosed through a two-step antibody test to be followed by a blood-clotting test.

Multiple Sclerosis

A progressive auto-immune disorder, MS attacks the central nervous system. Some symptoms are spasms, lack of motor control, degenerative motor skills. The disease mimics Lupus, viral infections, Alzheimer’s, and others.

Celiac Disease

Another auto-immune system disease, Celiac Disease, is brought by an intolerance to gluten, the protein that comes from wheat and grains. Symptoms may include vomiting, abdominal pain, GI tract issues. Celiac Disease mimics Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and Cystic Fibrosis.

Chronic Fatigue

Chronic Fatigue is a complex disease that mimics many others and has an unknown origin. Symptoms include loss of memory, inability to focus or concentrate, sore throats, painful lymph nodes, among others. In addition, the disease mimics sinus problems, hepatitis, fibromyalgia, lupus, and other disorders.
As you can see, common symptoms between minor illness and severe disease can be easily misunderstood, and googling symptoms may lead to a false sense of understanding. Therefore, it’s crucial to get a professional diagnosis rather than what you find online.
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Karan Emery

Karan Emery

Author
Karan Emery, an accomplished researcher and leader in health sciences, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals, brings over two decades of experience to the table. Holding a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Stanford University, Karan's credentials underscore her authority in the field. With a track record of groundbreaking research and numerous peer-reviewed publications in prestigious journals, Karan's expertise is widely recognized in the scientific community. Her writing style is characterized by its clarity and meticulous attention to detail, making complex scientific concepts accessible to a broad audience. Apart from her professional endeavors, Karan enjoys cooking, learning about different cultures and languages, watching documentaries, and visiting historical landmarks. Committed to advancing knowledge and improving health outcomes, Karan Emery continues to make significant contributions to the fields of health, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals.
Stefano Mclaughlin

Stefano Mclaughlin

Reviewer
Stefano Mclaughlin is a Psychologist focused on mental health, emotional well-being, and healthcare policy. He studied Psychology and Public Health at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, gaining a deep understanding of the intersection between mental health and public policy. Stefano's mission is clear: he aims to destigmatize mental health discussions, improve access to mental healthcare, and promote emotional well-being for all. Drawing from personal experiences with anxiety and depression, Stefano shares real stories to make mental health topics more relatable and less intimidating. In addition to his advocacy work, Stefano enjoys delving into books, experimenting in the kitchen, and embarking on new adventures. These hobbies fuel his creativity and inspire fresh perspectives for his advocacy work.
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