Monday, January 30, 2023

Consult a doctor on health matters, not social networks

Suppose you are browsing TikTok or Instagram and someone shares a video of a miracle cure. This so-called quick fix can reduce your weight, heal your gut, reduce inflammation, or completely cure your disease. It sounds so simple you think, why not try it and find out?

Weeks pass and you consult social media instead of consulting your doctor. However, the chances are that instead of solving your problem, you are making it worse.

“Health misinformation can delay patient care,” says internal medicine specialist Dr. Joyce Aquae. “This misinformation can put the life of the patient at risk. Therefore it is very important that patients or their caregivers are well informed about the disease they are suffering from.”

According to a survey by GoodRx, more than 70 percent of Americans have been exposed to medical misinformation, and 82 percent of that bad advice comes from social media. Additionally, the survey found that 44 percent of respondents were not confident in verifying whether the medical information they had received was accurate.

Some social media influencers create viral trends in the guise of “wellness tips”, but these posts repeatedly spread misinformation. In fact, an investigation by NewsGuard in September found that 20 percent of videos that appeared in search results contained false information.

Beware of ‘quick fixes’

The biggest red flags to watch for, says Akwe, are “promises of quick fixes and miracles in treatment that have no evidence.” “They’ll tell you something, and then you search the Internet and you won’t find anything anywhere. You don’t find it in reputable magazines or reputable sites. Saying ‘she said’ is not irrefutable proof.”

Anecdotal evidence should not be taken as fact. If you are concerned about something you saw on social media, ask your health care provider about your concerns. Someone may share the symptoms of a particular ailment they are suffering from, and it may sound familiar to you. However, this does not mean that they share the same status. The opposite may happen.

“Different conditions can manifest in similar ways, and the treatments are completely opposite or completely different,” explains Aquae. “Sometimes the treatment for one condition can be very dangerous for the opposite condition which gives a similar clinical picture.”

An example: “If your blood sugar is very low, you will have the same symptoms as someone with very high blood sugar, but the treatments are completely opposite,” he said. “Someone with a high blood sugar level will be given insulin to bring it down immediately. If someone’s blood sugar is very low and you give them insulin, you will kill them. If they are already unconscious because they have have low blood sugar, and if you give them insulin instead of giving them sugar, you will kill them.

‘really blind’

Various trends related to health are disseminated through social networks. Lately, publications on nutrition, and gut health in particular, are gaining a lot of ground. A trend circulated through social networks promoted the consumption of papaya seeds to “kill parasites” in the intestine. These claims are based on a 2007 study that found dried papaya seeds were effective in treating only one type of parasite in Nigerian children.

But, according to the Cleveland Clinic, this should not apply to the general public. More controlled, randomized studies with larger samples are needed to confirm this statement. According to the Cleveland Clinic, consuming papaya seeds can cause harmful side effects because of the cyanide content they contain. Also, parasites shouldn’t concern most Americans.

“The average — or non-average — American doesn’t have parasites,” says Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist and professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “Doctors in the United States do not care for patients with intestinal parasites, unless they come from developing countries.”

Other videos include creators who claim to consume aloe vera juice, olive oil, or supplements to improve your gut health. However, these claims lack data. Again, Acqua warns, symptoms that may seem like intestinal problems may actually be something else. If you’re concerned about your bowels, see your doctor.

“People can tell you what it takes to lose weight. It might be true. It might be questionable. It might work. It might not work, but you’re really being blindsided,” Acquay said. “It’s very important that you check some things out so that you don’t get into a situation where you’re hurting yourself by thinking that you’re doing something really cool.”

not everything is bad

However, not all information you see on social media is false. There are many respected doctors and medical professionals like Aqwe, who share useful and accurate advice to improve your health. Every time you see health information on social media, check the credentials of the person making the video. He is a doctor? Are you accredited? One way to check is to go to DocInfo, a site maintained by the Federation of State Medical Boards, and type in its name.

How do you transmit information? Are you using exaggeration and broad language to support your claims? Or cite researched and verified sources? If someone claims that alternative treatments are a quick fix to a problem, you should double-check what they’re saying.

Look at the information they mention in their message. Are they referring to peer-reviewed studies with large randomized samples? Can the information be found on other reliable sites, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Food and Drug Administration? If it is not, then most likely the information you are consuming is wrong.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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