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The Dangers of Self-Diagnosing

The Dangers of Self-Diagnosing

In today’s world, internet access is easily accessible so much so that self-diagnosing has become a common, if maybe a life-threatening practice. You just type in a symptom and websites pop up showing various diagnoses, and one chooses the one that best describes their situation.

Statistics of Self-Diagnosing

According to a recent survey1 conducted among 3,000 adults across the U.S., 44% of Americans are self-diagnosing their illness online, and 30% are using home remedies for their health problems.

self-diagnosing

When searching for health solutions, many patients perform targeted searches of their symptoms hoping to find a name to their condition. In a study conducted by Microsoft, the search for the keyword “headache” would generate a probability of 26% that it is caused by brain tumor, which is the same probability as “caffeine withdrawal”. The remaining 48% is “tension”.2 So now you ask yourself, “Do I have brain tumor, caffeine withdrawal, or is this tension? Wait, I don’t take caffeine, so this is a toss-up between brain tumor and tension.”

And of course, there’s a ton of other causes of headaches. Did we mention blood clots, diabetes, poor posture, high blood pressure, and many, many others?

The Dangers of Self-Diagnosing

What happens is that people will tend to tune in into one or two resources and pick up a few lines that they think match their symptoms, which will then (mis)lead them into a diagnoses that may actually have nothing to do with their condition. And viola, the internet says there are home remedies to your situation, too!

The problem with self-diagnosing is that internet resources do not reveal everything and all that is to know about things—especially health issues. It takes probably at least 50 medical textbooks, 1 year of internship and 2-6 years of residency at a hospital before one truly becomes a doctor. What makes us think we can become one in three pages of internet resource?

So people have stopped going to the doctor’s office thinking they got it covered. While this method seems very expedient and will give the patient a feeling of empowerment, it can be seriously dangerous.

Subtleties of Symptoms, Nuances of Diagnoses

The difference between self-diagnoses, and the diagnoses of a doctor with which you’ve had an actual visit, is that the latter is trained to ask the right questions in order to determine the root of the problem. They probe and are more pointed and specific with asking about symptoms. Some symptoms are so subtle they are not always easily identifiable, and some symptoms may be more important than others. A headache is a classic example of what seems to be a common symptom but may be the result of a more serious and life-threatening illness such as blood clots.

“When you self-diagnose, you are essentially assuming that you know the subtleties that diagnosis constitutes. This can be very dangerous, as people who assume that they can surmise what is going on with themselves may miss the nuances of diagnosis.3” Diagnosis does not just include identifying the symptoms. It also involves the use of medical tools to get a complete picture of your health situation; and in many situations, it involves the conduct of tests and screenings.

Right Diagnoses = Right Treatment Plan

A correct diagnosis leads to a correct treatment plan. In fact, in the case of serious illnesses, patients may need to see two or three different doctors with different specialties because some illnesses may require different or multiple treatment methods.

If self-diagnosing, once people decide what they have and put a name to it, they will then look for home remedies, take to over-the-counter medications, or attempt to change their lifestyle. Anything but go to the doctor. But they don’t realize that reading a few pages of internet resource does not make for a correct diagnosis, and they may be trying to treat themselves for something they don’t have, and are still uninformed about the root cause of their health condition.

While the internet helps in getting you information the quickest way, and helps you be more aware about health issues than you usually wouldn’t be, it is still necessary to validate this information with the people who have studied diseases and the practice of healing for years and years—the doctors.  Not doing so may cause you your life or your family’s.

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Are you a cyberchondriac? Click here (takes you to an external link) to find out how your state compares with the others in terms of self-diagnosing online.

Footnotes:
1. Survey: 44% of Americans self-diagnose online instead of visiting medical professional by Brian Zimmerman, Becker’s Clinical Leadership and Infection Control; last accessed 12/13/20191.
2. Issues and Dangers of Self-Diagnosis, Foundations Recovery Network; last accessed 12/13/2019
3. The Dangers of Self-Diagnosis by Srini Pillay, M.D., Pschology Today; last accessed 12/13/2019

References:
1. The Dangers of Self-Diagnosis by Srini Pillay, M.D., Pschology Today; last accessed 12/13/2019
2. Issues and Dangers of Self-Diagnosis, Foundations Recovery Network; last accessed 12/13/2019
3. Survey: 44% of Americans self-diagnose online instead of visiting medical professional by Brian Zimmerman, Becker’s Clinical Leadership and Infection Control; last accessed 12/13/2019

Dr. Allamm Morales, M.D.
Neurologist

Dr. Allamm Morales has over 15 years experience in personal injury and a wide range of neurological disorders. He has privilege, and provides patient care in local Baptist hospitals.

He was Chief Resident at the Neurology Residency Program of the University of South Florida, and worked at the Florida Hospital of New Smyrna, and St. Luke Hospital in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He also served many years with the Florida Neurology Institute, Inc.

Dr. Morales is a Diplomate of the American Board of Vascular Neurology, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Dr. Morales studied in Nova Southeastern University, Davie, FL, had residency at the Caibarien General Hospital, Cuba, and obtained the MD degree at the Superior Institute of Medical Science in Cuba.

Fiaz Jaleel, M.D.
Physical Medicine & Rehab, Pain Management

“Life is short and precious. As a Physiatrist and Pain Physician my goal for my patients is to reduce their pain and suffering, enhance form, improve function and ultimately promote the best quality of life for that individual.”

Dr. Fiaz Jaleel graduated from the University of The West Indies in 1987. He completed a two year internship at Port of Spain General Hospital in Trinidad and Tobago. He completed his internship in Internal Medicine at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, IL and went on to do a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis , MO. In 2007, Dr. Jaleel joined the team at Absolute Injury and Pain Physicians as Medical Director. He is currently Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation as well as Pain Medicine via the American Board of Pain Medicine.

In Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Jaleel held positions as an Intern, House officer, and District Medical Officer. He has also practiced in Illinois, Missouri, South Dakota and Central and North Florida.

While practicing in Trinidad , Dr. Jaleel also worked in Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, Neonatology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery, Ophthalmology, Radiology, Neurosurgery, Plastic Surgery, Orthopedics, Emergency Medicine and Community Medicine.

Dr. Jaleel has encountered many diseases, disorders and clinical situations related to multiple aspects of trauma including penetrating and non-penetrating injuries, motor vehicular accidents and concomitant injuries including intra-abdominal injuries, closed head injuries, fractures and burns.

When not treating his patients, Dr. Jaleel enjoys travelling, reading and spending time with friends and family.

Dr. Jaleel has the following affiliations:
Diplomate, American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Diplomate, American Board of Pain Medicine
Fellow, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Member, American Academy of Pain Medicine
Member, Florida Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Member, Florida Academy of Pain Medicine
Member, Florida Medical Association

Deric L. D’Agostino, D.C.
Chiropractic Physician

“The health of a body is in direct proportion to the health of its nervous system. The nervous system controls every cell, tissue and organ in your body, tap into that and “miracles” will most certainly happen!”

Dr. Deric D’Agostino attended the Logan College of Chiropractic and has been helping patients at Absolute Injury and Pain Physicians for the past nine years. Around here we call him “Dr. D.”

Dr. D’Agostino specializes in Koren Specific Technique and in the treatment of injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents. He is a master of his craft and firmly believes that chiropractic treatment can not only help the body but also the mind. His sense of humor and the personal attention that he provides really puts patients at ease.

Dr. D’Agostino genuinely listens to the patient while working very hard to erase their pain-inducing symptoms. He is always seeking out continuing education and new methodology to add to his care repertoire.

When he is not helping patients find relief, Dr. D’Agostino enjoys training for sprint triathlons, gardening, as well as being an awesome father and husband. You will most likely find him at our Arlington location dawning a huge smile while drinking his homemade juice.

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