Two in five Americans have falsely convinced themselves they have a serious disease, after turning to ‘Dr Google‘ – according to new research.
A survey of 2,000 Americans found that 43 percent have looked their symptoms up online and ended up believing they had a much more serious illness than in actuality.
Sixty-five percent of respondents have used the internet to self-diagnose themselves, but the results show typing your symptoms into the search bar might do more harm than good.
Instead of alleviating concerns, 74 percent of those who have self-diagnosed online say searching for their symptoms made them worry MORE about their health.
That may be due to the answers given by Dr Google, as the internet’s medical advice was found by respondents to be reliable less than 40 percent of the time.
Commissioned by LetsGetChecked and conducted by OnePoll, the survey found that searching the web isn’t everyone’s first choice for a diagnosis – when respondents feel ill, half (51 percent) say they turn first to a health care professional.
At the same time, a quarter of those surveyed (26 percent) don’t have a primary care physician and six in 10 actively avoid visiting the doctor.
This avoidance is due in part to the cost of medical care (47 percent), doctor(s) not believing them when they talk about symptoms (37 percent) and not having time to go to an appointment (37 percent).
But the survey also found a variety of factors that would encourage respondents to see a professional – including having results explained in a way that makes sense (47 percent), less expensive care (46 percent) and if it better fit into their schedule (43 percent).
That’s in addition to having the ability to choose which parts of their health they can test (41 percent) and taking tests in their own home (38 percent).
‘This survey shows us that a significant number of people are living with on-going, negative day-to-day symptoms that they either don’t understand or misdiagnose,’ said Robert Mordkin, Medical Director of LetsGetChecked.
‘Many of these symptoms can be associated with thyroid issues.’
Dr. Mordkin added, ‘While educating yourself can be a good thing, it is important to have objective testing. One way to do this is with home health testing, which enables better convenience, flexibility and peace of mind.