In today’s digital-driven world, the internet has taken place of doctors when it comes to diagnosing perceived health problems.
We’ve become armchair physicians, happy to forgo professional opinions for the first couple of Google search results.
This self-diagnosing has added to our anxiety when it comes to health, and it’s unnecessary. Because people have no idea what to look for when it comes to health problems, many people assume they’re afflicted with something when they aren’t. Here are three common examples:
An popular enemy of celebrity diet, gluten isn’t all that bad. One recent study found that 86 percent of people who thought they had a gluten sensitivity, identified through gastrointestinal issues like bloating, diarrhea, joint pain, fatigue, and “brain fog”, didn’t really have it.
In reality, only 6 percent of the population has gluten sensitivity, while an even smaller 1 percent have celiac disease.
You’re probably thinking, if it’s not gluten you’re sensitive to, then what it is, anonymous internet writer guy? Some possibilities include lactose or fructose intolerance, bacteria overgrowth in your intestine, IBS, or other underlying health issues.
Men experiencing weight gain, fatigue, low libido, erectile dysfunction, and mood swings like to point to lowering testosterone levels for their ailments. Despite levels dropping with age – 1 percent each year after turning 30 – other conditions could be the cause.
“Assuming you are not on medications which can cause [these] side effects, depression, diabetes, and sleep apnea all can either mimic the symptoms or cause a drop in testosterone,” says William N. Wang, MD, vice president and chief medical officer at Dignity Health’s Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center. “Adding testosterone to any of these other primary conditions can make your symptoms worse, not better.”
Additionally, studies have shown adding unnecessary testosterone can increase risks of blood clots and heart attack, so be cautious.
Your headaches are so bad, they must be something more, like a migraine.
“It is only really seen in about 12 percent of people,” says Amir H. Barzin, DO, UNC School of Medicine Assistant Professor, Family Medicine. “A migraine is usually associated with nausea and/or light or sound sensitivity and usually goes through stages.”
The best way to figure out if it’s a migraine or not is to keep a headache log to determine the causes, says Barzin.
“A patient can write down when they have their headaches, what they are doing, the foods they ate, any possible triggers (stress, loud noises, bright lights), how long the headache lasts, any treatments tried and the effectiveness of the treatments.”
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