In the modern world, the way people manage their health has changed almost completely from just 20 years ago. Where once what the doctor said was the start, middle, and end of the discussion, the internet has allowed people to research and learn for themselves. For the most part, patients being able to be more involved in the management of their health is seen as a positive thing.
However, the way that health-related information is both found and processed is incredibly important. So whether you’re managing pre-existing health struggles or just want to achieve optimal wellness, it’s important to know what you need to know, what you don’t need to know and — perhaps most importantly of all — what you should avoid. Below, you’ll find a simple guide that can help to ensure your search for information about your health is always beneficial.
The information you need to avoid
It’s easy to assume that the more you know about your health issues, the better. However, this isn’t necessarily the case.
When it comes to researching your health online, there is definitely the potential for a case of “too much information”. Many people find themselves trapped in research spirals, becoming steadily more and more terrified of the information they find.
The best way to manage this is to look for information relating to your health… but never Google your symptoms. If you Google your symptoms, then you’re almost certainly going to find a result that scares you. So no matter how safe you think it is, or how much experience you have researching your own health, Googling your symptoms will almost certainly eventually lead to disastrous results.
The information that is useful to you
While you should always be cautious when looking for information regarding a condition you are suffering from, there are cases where research is almost always going to be beneficial.
First and foremost, information is vital if you are considering trying something new, be that a treatment, a supplement, or a prescribed medication. One of the great gifts of the internet is that you can talk to others with the same conditions and learn about what worked for them and, perhaps more importantly, what you should expect if you follow in their steps.
When researching something new, look for a variety of opinions. Forums such as Reddit can be extremely helpful for gleaning different experiences, while blogs such as Birth Order Plus that review health products and supplements are also beneficial. You may also find social media helpful, though it’s best to verify any information you receive from social networks before you commit.
What you should do with the information you gather
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that any information — good, bad, or somewhere in between — that you learn independently should be shared with your doctor. They will be able to ensure you have been correctly informed and, in the case of new treatments or supplements, explain if the information you have discovered is rooted in scientific fact. It is inadvisable to discover and act upon the health-related information without first verifying the information with a qualified medical professional; if you ensure you always take this step, then you shouldn’t go far wrong.