“Ebola is coming to get you.” “Coffee will kill you.” “Raw food treats cancer.”
Each of those phrases is a headline I found online today. They are all highly sensationalized and constructed to do two things: get you to click on it, and perhaps make you a regular reader.
And that’s the nature of the marketplace. But what’s important is how you perceive the information you’re learning. You can find information online to support virtually any idea, theory, or concept. There are no barriers to publishing online, so anybody with the desire to post something can.
Having all this information at your fingertips is amazing. It can keep you informed, introduce you to new ideas, and even allow you to improve your health with innovative treatments and remedies. The knowledge and information is out there. On the other side of the coin, however, there is a lot of nonsense online. The Internet is filled with snake oil peddlers trying to scare you and “save” you.
Having so much freedom to spread information, depending on the source, can be a negative thing. For the reader, it can cause all kinds of unneeded stress, confusion, fear, and self-diagnosis.
To avoid these negative effects of information overload, make sure you’re getting information from trusted health sources that offer support. Make sure the health information is coming from people with a verifiable medical background or journalists who draw their information from trusted, official sources. Most quality sites like Doctors Health Press, The New York Times, Huffington Post, and many medical journals feature work by real doctors, as well as experienced journalists.
Taking good, quality information from a supportive health source and using it to improve your health or quality of life, like creating a more balanced and nutritious diet or other helpful hints, is always beneficial. It’s important to take the information you read and use it positively, but you also need to understand that it might not work for you all the time.
It’s very easy, for example, to read about a condition and all of a sudden begin to notice you’re experiencing some of the symptoms. This creates fear and adds stress, leading you to believe you have a condition when you probably don’t. Self-diagnosis can create fear that sabotages your well-being.
I believe it’s important to stay informed with quality health information that can improve your life in a positive way. Avoid self-diagnosing and sites riddled with sensational headlines that could end up threatening your overall health. If you believe you have a particular health condition and want confirmation, or if you just want more information on a particular treatment or remedy, work with a doctor in addition to doing your own research. A doctor can identify a condition and tailor a treatment to your specific needs. In the end, always be smart about your health.