Diagnosing yourself on the internet

Is diagnosing yourself detrimental to your health?

Diagnose yourself

LA QUINTA, Calif. - Using the internet to diagnose your aches and pains has become commonplace. Dr. Erica Ruiz runs a family medical practice in La Quinta.  She's noticed an up-tick in the amount of patients who come in for their check-ups armed with information they gathered on the internet about their symptoms.

Dr. Ruiz says, there is some and good and some bad about trying to diagnose yourself via the internet.  According to Dr. Ruiz, when a person is concerned about their health and turns to the internet for answers and then makes a doctor's appointment, that's a good thing.  She says, "Often times the adherence is way better when I do have a patient who is interested in their health." 

On the negative side, there are a lot of so-called medical websites that are not credible.   In fact, some promise results if you take certain tests.  Tests that can only be done at certain places and on a cash only basis.  The other concern is that patients will go see specialists because of their self diagnosis instead of seeing their primary care physician first.  This, could cause drug interaction and get all doctors treating the patient off the same page.  

Dr. Ruiz says, "There's a lot of sources out there on the internet that are being watched by the FDA and by different medical groups."   She believes,  the absolute best case scenario is to keep your "well visits" each year so your primary care physician knows what's going on with you, sees the whole picture,  and you avoid big medical surprises.


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