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14 Health Signs You Should Never Ignore, from SELF

By , SparkPeople Blogger
This season's hottest Grey's Anatomy plotline, in which Dr. Izzy Stevens' hallucinations of her dead fiancé turn out to be caused by melanoma that spread to her brain and other organs, has surely unnerved more than one fan. Is this mole troublesome? Should I have it checked out?
Sometimes it's tough to decide whether to take a health problem seriously in this post-Internet world. Are we being hypochondriacs? Are we ignoring a potentially serious health issue?

With self-diagnosis just a click away, we often think we can take out health into our own hands. SELF magazine this month wrote a great story about health signs we shouldn't ignore.

"Dry lips or swollen fingers could spell trouble—SELF helps decode subtle signals of potentially serious health problems. Instant at-home health checks can spot early signs of diabetes or iron deficiency just by the color of your fingernails. Dark under-eye circles could suggest an allergic reaction, or white patches in your mouth corners could indicate a yeast infection."

Read more about health signs you shouldn't ignore in this month's issue of SELF, on newsstands now.

Do you, despite doctors advice to avoid it, try to diagnose yourself on the Internet?

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I think a lot of women tend to be too busy or forget how important they are in the we self diagnoise on the web... It is quicker to spend all night researching that weird thing then wait for the docs the next day or week.

If I am concerned about something, I do look it up PRIOR to going to the docs..helps me figure if it is somethign to be very concerned about or not....and when them big words do start a-flying in that medical office, I have at least some clue as to what they are saying.

When I didnt have access to more information for 5 whole days when a diagnoises came was very hard for me...I had more questions then ever before....had I been given research access I could have spent time learning about it and asked intelligent questions instead of just "How do you say it again?"

WOMEN! We are important enough to go to the doctors and not have to put ourselves last when it comes to health! It is okay to take time to go to the docs! Report
I also use tried and tested websites to help me understand the doctor's diagnosis and to educate myself on whatever illness or condition I may have. Doctors don't always take the time to explain themselves thoroughly and clearly, so it helps to be equipped to ask the right questions.

That said, I've dealt with eczema most of my life and other "eczematics" (?) know that you become your own doctor as far as finding what works for you, what your sensitivities are, etc. The internet is a good place to network with people who suffer from the same problems who can give you good advice and encouragement. Report
I like to follow-up on my doctor's diagnosis with info from the internet. If I have new, unfamiliar symptoms, I have checked to see if the internet could help me better communicate with my doctor; and even then I'm particular about the sources for the info.

I use the reputable online sites to help me with my health decisions, in addition to working with doctors, and reading the actual studies published in the medical field tha tare relevant. Doctors are not always right. My cancer diagnosis in 2001 would have been left too late if I had believed the first THREE doctors who told me I was overreacting to a lump, because their tests inaccurately said it was not cancerous (it was, and I went through the usual treatments for near stage II breast cancer). In their defense, most medical diagnostics are statistically quite accurate - and false negatives (meaning a misdiagnosis that an illness is not present) are not all that common. But I believe it is ultimately our own responsibility to make sure that we get appropriate health care, which includes both following up symptoms we observe and also not jumping to conclusions based on something we read on the internet Report
Thank you for providing a link to this article. I sent it to some of my girlfriends, because I think that we often get so busy in our lives we ignore potentially serious symptoms. Like many others who have commented, I usually research what my doctor has already told me, I never try to diagnose myself using internet resources.

Thanks again,

Rebecca Report
I look online but . . . if serious, always go to the doc. Report
I have used to "diagnose" a problem, and then went to the Dr. and he confirmed it. I wouldn't go by what I find online w/o also going to the Dr. Report
No, I don't try to diagnose myself over the Internet; however, I do like to read about any health concern I may have. Report
I research what my doctor tells me and what prescriptions they give me and I ask questions. I don't want something to go wrong and the doctor tell me they made a mistake and me not even know what they are talking about. Like my leg for example. He told me I was going to have surgery to cut a nerve and bury it in my knee. The nerve he told me ended up not being in my knee but was in the foot and cause all of the opposite symptons which caused great concern for me and I went to get a second opinion and now they are doing a nerve test which the previous doctor didn't do. I think your health is in your hands and you should be informed on what the doctors tell you. But don't be an idiot and self diagnose yourself. Report
If what the doctor is doing is not working, I do go to the internet. My general practitioner kept insisting I had allergies and that it was "in my head" that the allergy meds weren't working. Went to two other GPs, and after the 5 minute once over, they thought it was allegeries. After doing some research, I realized that I might have a sinus infection. Scheduled an appointment with an ENT, who actually looked at my nose and saw I had a severely deviated septum. She ordered allergy testing and a CAT scan for me. Turns out that my only allergy is to horses, but both of the sinuses in my cheeks, as well as one of my upper ones were full of junk that wasn't draining.

I think if you're stuck with a bad doctor due to your insurance plan, you probably should do some research so you can at least get them to address your concerns. I'd probably still be exhausted and breathing poorly if I hadn't taken the initiative to do some research when things weren't working.
I do research on certain things I do not understand even some things my doctor tells me. I think it's good to find out as much as you can about what ever is bothering you.

This is a great article I do appreciate it. Thank You! Report
I do research on the Internet not so much because I want to diagnose myself but to prepare myself to see the doctor. Often I find myself in the doctor's office not knowing exactly how to explain to my doctor what I'm experiencing. After doing some research and thinking I usually can organize my thoughts and put the little pieces of fact together and make more sense of my symptoms. Plus, sometimes doctors throw jargons at you. With a little research I won't feel like talking to someone who speaks a foreign language. Report
Great information! Although there is social healthcare in Canada, I still try not to go unless it is absolutely required. Thanks for providing such valuable content. Report
Very interesting. Thank you for the link to this article. Report
I try not to diagnose myself on the internet and let the Dr. do his job. However I find out that I can spot things that I should be discussing with my Dr. that may lead to the same conclusion as the diagnosis or even something else. Report
I try not to go to the doctor for every little thing but if I think that my condition is something more serious than can be taken care with OTC prescription, I do not hestiate to go to the doctor. Report
I enjoy an article or two like this one but I know my body and I know my health care provider and together we decide what is best. Some people just need a little push like an article like this to even go to the doctor and some need an article to get them to stop going too often. Thanks for sharing. I hope it works. Report
I do not self diagnose or go overboard in researching the net over every sneeze, I also don't overuse my dr. I have been fairly healthly all my life, never dealing with anything over a sinus infection or chest cold. So I would probably be in the group that would overlook certain signs because of that. With getting older and approaching certain issues that come along with age I need to stay aware of the changes my body goes through so as to help myself avoid problems brought on by neglect. Thanks for the article! Report
I recently read about doctors that specialize in on line appointments for individuals and and not sure how I feel about that for certain things. It may be good for mild or common ailments, but might not be the best thing for other ailments. I am not one to go to the doctor unless I feel it is very serious (usually after looking it up on line and causing myself undue stress), but others I know are at the doctors for every sniffle - for these individuals, the on line doctor might be a good idea Report
While you don't need to call your doctor with every little thing - writing things down so you don't forget to discuss at your regular doctor's appointment is important.. I went thru this last year... where I went to the doctor because I was having trouble breathing - I wasn't doing the web research idiot routing _ i'm having a heart attack and dying or I have some mysterious disease - I know I'm old, fat and out of shape.. but I wasn't getting any improvement on breathing ability.. Test after test after test - kept saying you are indeed old fat and out of shape.. til the final test.. a good old fashioned chest xray that showed a HUGE hiatal hernia... and the following CT scan which showed a ruptured diaphragm - there was my lack of breathing problem - no solution but an explanation.

THe burden is on us the patient to know your body.. to know what you're putting into it and what's changing.. your doctor sees you once a year at most for the majority of people for 15 minutes... You have to explain to them what's going on as clearly as possible. (and after the ct scan came back -my doc did say I was explaining it perfectly -he just wasn't putting two and two togther... ) Report
SELF is a great and helpful magazine. I look forward to getting it every month. Report
After several doctors told me that my physical symptoms were from being "in-the-childbearing years, "in-your-head" or they just "can´t find anything wrong so here´s a prescription for a sedative", I decided to research before I asked for their help. I discovered that I was only going to the dr. so that he/she could confirm MY diagnosis and prescribe appropriate meds!

Nowadays, I do the research and then go to the healthfood store to find alternatives to prescription drugs. Adding SparkPeople with a controlled intake of healthier foods and supplements as well as regular exercise, I have discovered that I am healthier and stronger emotionally. I know the MDs are there when I need them, I need them less often, and I can discuss my health more intelligently when I do need them. Report
My family doctor says that I shouldn't call her each time I sneeze! So there you go: i call her too often . But then again, better be safe than sorry. Report
What a great article. I saved it and will share it with friends.

Thanks so much! Sunny Report
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