Googling our symptoms when we have a health issue – we’ve all been there! It is pretty safe to say that when we look up health issues on the internet, it can very quickly lead to getting into a frenzy and jumping to far-fetched conclusions. However, there are ways you can research medical information online and present this to your GP if you’re concerned.
Use the NHS website & accredited sites
There are many offerings when it comes to websites for looking up symptoms, many of which are not reliable, so make sure you are researching in the right places. The NHS website is obviously a safe place to look things up, as are sources accredited under its Information Standard, which is a certification process established by the Department of Health.
Try not to stray from these websites, as it can be very easy to find information that gives you the worst-case scenario, sending you into a meltdown (we’ve all been there too!). If you are a bit of a worrier, it’s probably wise to skip looking up symptoms online altogether if you know you will dwell on your findings too much before seeing your doctor.
Speaking of meltdowns, try not to worry if you have come across what appears to be a worrying diagnosis. Remember that there are a number of symptoms and conditions that co-ordinate, which means looking something up online will never give you a definitive diagnosis and should simply be viewed as a first step. Approach your GP with the information you’ve researched and allow them to take things forward.
Respect your doctor
Looking up your health issues online shouldn’t yield a stand-off between the internet and your doctor. When relaying the information to your doctor, respect and discuss rather than challenge and become defensive. Assembling information from numerous different sources, including the opinions of specialists such as nutritionists, sports trainers and dieticians will help create a clearer picture of your health, with your GP being the person to put all the pieces together to form a diagnosis.
If you are unsure about a set of unusual symptoms, follow the advice above and most importantly, make an appointment with your GP to put your mind at rest.