Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Stop treating Google as your doctor
Are you among those who log in to Google every time you are down with body ache, fever or cold, only to get more confused and scared
 
New Delhi: Are you among those who log in to Google every time you are down with body ache, fever or cold, only to get more confused and scared? Many young Indians with smartphones in their hands are falling prey to the "Google-as-your-doctor" phenomenon and the dangerous trend is on the rise in the country, health experts feel.
 
Although there is nothing wrong in checking your symptoms or trying to find more about your illness on the internet, they say that one should know where to stop.
 
The ideal situation is to use search engines only when someone is diagnosed with a certain medical condition and wants to know more about it. The information available on internet should be used to educate oneself rather than trying to find a cure for the disease.
 
"The biggest problem is that internet is loaded with enormous information which could be correct too but then your symptoms could be similar to some other disease which may cause confusion. Therefore, correct diagnosis of your health abnormality is very important," Dr. Satnam Singh Chhabra, head (neuro-spine surgeon) at the Sir Gangaram Hospital here, told IANS.
 
He has observed many young Indian adults getting hooked to the internet to look for every little thing, even self-diagnosis.
 
For instance, if one has a health abnormality, then the instant reaction is to Google the symptoms before seeing an expert or a doctor.
 
"But one should be careful as people normally look for symptoms to get rid of curiosity and anxiety but to the contrary, it just worsens the scenario and leaves them more anxious," Chhabra said.
 
According to Dr. (Prof) Raju Vaishya, senior consultant (orthopaedic and joint replacement surgeon) at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, one should beware of getting trapped into "Google as your doctor" behaviour as this may cause more harm than good.
 
"Yes, there is an increasing surge in young Indians with smartphones who google common health symptoms. I find more such patients coming to me with queries related to hand, wrist and elbow," Vaishya told IANS.
 
Dr. R K Singal of the BLK Super-specialty Hospital had an interesting case study to share: "Once a patient in his mid-30s came to me with severe headache. He told me that he thought he had a brain tumour. After diagnosis, we found that headache was due to prolonged sore throat and rhinopharyngitis (common cold)."
 
"The patient visited me after a month of self-diagnosis through internet. Whatever he found on the internet made him believe that he had a brain tumour," Singal told IANS.
 
According to Singal, people in the 25-40 age group are more hooked on to the internet and such self-diagnosis only increases one's anxiety.
 
Dr. Rahul Gupta, senior neuro and spine surgeon at Fortis Hospital in Noida, is attending to many young Indians who come to him with weird health queries after scanning Google.
 
"Self-medication via the internet can be dangerous. Patients at times do not follow our advice and waste our time with silly questions," he stressed.
 
According to Gupta, Google is good when it comes to searching for a good doctor, checking spellings of a medication and reading about general health-related issues.
 
Another danger of self-diagnosis is that you may think that there is more wrong with you than there actually is.
 
"For example, if you had insomnia, inattention and depression, you may believe that you have a sleep disorder or major depression. Thus, you may make things worse by worrying more as well," Singal noted.
 
Self-diagnosis is also a problem when you are in a state of denial about your symptoms.
 
One may think that generalised body aches started with a worsening of mood, but a doctor may elect to do an electrocardiogram for chest pain that reveals possible coronary artery disease, the experts felt.
 
Are health websites trustworthy when it comes to answering health symptom queries?
 
"I don't see any harm in doing that because it's about your health after all. In fact, a lot of times my patients come back with queries after surfing about their health abnormality on the internet," Chhabra said.
 
So, educate yourself as much before or after you visit your doctor, but let the experts do their job. Let your doctor prescribe you a treatment well-suited for your ailment.
 
"One should be wise enough to understand which is an authentic website with relevant content as there are a lot of paid sites which exist only to make business," Chhabra advised.
 
Vaishya asked youngsters to share their internet-acquired knowledge with the doctor but not to force it upon the doctor to follow it.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article. 

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COMMENTS

Meenal Mamdani

11 months ago

As a physician I agree with most of the recommendations in this article.

Except for one statement "don't ask me silly questions".

A doctor must educate the patient about her/his health problems. Treatment works best when the doctor treats the patient as a team member and not some one who is to be fobbed off with curt answers.

Yes, hypochondriacs can be a pain in the neck but in my experience, these are few. It is more common in India to encounter patients who look upon doctors almost as gods.

Patients should be given info about reliable websites pertaining to their disease and encouraged to be well informed.

Vaibhav Dhoka

11 months ago

This practice confuses doctor as query from internet diagnosis is cumersom.

Goa lifeguards strike, government invokes ESMA
Panaji:The Goa government on Tuesday invoked the ESMA Act as about 600 lifeguards posted on the state's beaches went on an indefinite strike demanding regularisation of their services.
 
The imposition of the Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1988, renders illegal the indefinite strike called by the lifeguards, a government spokesperson said. 
 
"The government has declared the lifeguarding and water safety services on the beaches and the inland water bodies under the aegis of the department of tourism as essential services," the spokesperson said.
 
The indefinite strike was called by more than 600 lifeguards employed by a private beach management agency engaged by the Goa tourism ministry, according to Christopher Fonseca, general secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC).
 
"We had given adequate notice about the strike to the Goa government. The lifeguards are providing a critical life-saving service and need security in employment. We are only demanding regularisation of their services," Fonseca told IANS on Tuesday.
 
Goa's 100 km coastline has some spectacular beaches which are popular with tourists.
 
Since private beach management agencies have been recruited by the tourism authorities in the last few years, several hundred tourists have been saved from drowning.
 
Goa Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar said the government was in touch with the lifeguard representatives and a solution to the crisis would be found soon.
 
"We are keen on listening to the lifeguards and solving their issues. A resolution will be found soon," Parulekar said.
 
The state is one of the top beach tourism destinations in the country.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article. 

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Nifty, Sensex is in no man’s land – Tuesday’s closing report
Nifty will weaken on a close below 7,850
 
We had mentioned in Monday’s closing report that Nifty, Sensex are rising on low volumes and that Nifty is going strong and will start to weaken on a close below 7,851. The market has resumed its listless behaviour and the major indices were trading flat. The trends of the major indices during Tuesday’s trading are given in the table below:
 
Value buying coupled with positive global cues and expectations of more reforms by the government marginally buoyed the Indian equity markets on Tuesday. Initially, the bellwether indices of the Indian equity markets rose in sync with their Asian peers. In addition, the markets maintained their Monday's gains which were made on the back of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new initiative of "Start-up India Stand-up India" which has been lined up for next month's launch. However, markets soon ceded their gains, as lack of investors' participation and absence of any triggers prompted investors to book profits. Latest data with the stock exchanges showed that the volumes in cash markets across key bellwether indices eased to Rs16,000 crore in the last couple of trading sessions. Besides, investors were seen cautious regarding the upcoming third-quarter earnings season. Nevertheless, positive European markets and value buying at lower levels again rose prices.
 
French group BNP Paribas has decided to acquire 5% stake in Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd (SREI) while exiting the unlisted outfit Srei Equipment Finance Ltd (SEFL), an equal joint venture with SREI.  In a regulatory filing with BSE, listed company SREI on Monday said BNP Paribas Lease Group, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas group, will sell/transfer its 50% holding in SEFL to SREI. The BNP Paribas Lease will sell its holding in SEFL to SREI at a price determined as per the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) guidelines. The sale consideration will be equal to the total consideration which BNP Paribas Lease will pay for acquiring 5% stake in SREI, the latter said. The price for 5% stake in SREI will be higher of (a) the average of weekly high and low of the volume weighted average price of the equity shares of SREI during the 26 weeks preceding the closing date of the acquisition (b) the two weeks average price of high and low of SREI stock preceding the date of acquisition calculated as per market regulator guidelines. According to SREI, the French group believes that it would be beneficial for it to be a shareholder in the company to take advantage of the opportunities in the infrastructure sector.
 
Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said India Post would be launching its payment bank by March 2017. He was speaking at the inaugural session of a week-long celebration of Good Governance Week organised by department of electronics and information technology. Earlier the minister said Japanese company Hitachi is interested in partnering with the postal department for payment bank solutions. The Reserve Bank of India granted in-principle approval to 11 applicants in August to set up payments banks. According to the apex bank's guidelines, payments banks would offer a limited range of products such as demand deposits and remittances. The top gainers and top losers of the major indices are given in the table below:
 
The closing values of major Asian indices are given below:
 

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