Sunday, November 28, 2010
It is wonderful that patients are taking responsibility for their own health care and arming themselves with knowledge. Today many patients do this via google, hearsay, and advice from their local health food store or supplement shop. True there are several helpful sites on the internet that provide basic information on a variety of conditions and many are from seemingly reputable sources. However, the accuracy of information from random sources is questionable and can be very inconsistent from one source to the other. For example, many sites are not kept up-to-date with treatment information or discussions regarding therapeutic options. In fact, I recently browsed a site that recommended a medication for a condition that had been pulled from the market for dangerous side-effects. In addition, the site may offer a biased perspective for treatments (based on a limited or focused area of expertise) rather than providing a general view on a variety of therapeutic approaches including adjunct or palliative treatments and explaining the effectiveness and prognosis of each option.
It is important to engage your physician in conversations regarding the diagnostic process. Ask questions, but don’t attempt to dictate the assessment process or pre-diagnose before the physician even obtains objective data. You must realize that your condition may be expressing a group of symptoms that are similar to a number of diagnoses. Your physician will be much more open to discussions regarding your condition if you respect their expertise. In addition, use science to back-up your inquiries. Today’s standardized therapies that are acceptable to all members of the medical community are usually developed through a very specific process including clinical trials which are reviewed and evaluated in literature such as scientific or medical publications. In addition, traditional therapies such as herbal and nutritional ingredients are also being further validated through this process nowadays which creates a common and reputable reference for discussions between providers practicing in varying disciplines and areas of expertise. Using these materials as a reference helps to validate and support the credibility of your inquiry which may also cause the physician to be open to therapeutic approaches that he/she was not previously aware of.