Self Diagnosis: What do my symptoms mean?
Can you really do self diagnosis?
Yes you can, as long as
- you ask the right question and
- obtain some basic medical knowledge.
These are the two basic things you absolutely need for self diagnosing.
The right question you need to ask yourself for self diagnosis is “What do my symptoms mean?”
When you ask, “What do my symptoms mean?”, you start by thinking about your symptoms, not the symptoms you found on a symptom checklist. If you want to do self diagnosis in a proper way, you have to go one step further. It is not enough to simply list your symptoms. Your symptoms tell a story about what is happening inside your organs. You have to get that story correct. The same exact symptom may point to a completely different diagnosis depending on what role that symptom plays in that story.
Many times people simply do a symptom search to self diagnose their symptoms. They look for a symptom checklist or a symptom checker and try to match a diagnosis that goes with those medical symptoms. That is the wrong way to find a diagnosis for your symptoms. Unless you think about what is happening inside your body to produce your medical symptoms, you will not get the right diagnosis from any symptom search.
First of all, you need to recall how exactly your symptoms started. If your symptoms started abruptly within a fraction of a second, they point to a certain organ system and certain kind of diagnoses. If your symptoms started slowly over a few days, they point to a different type of diagnoses. Getting the onset of your symptoms correctly will help you move in the right direction to get the correct self diagnosis.
Before you can answer, “What do my symptoms mean?”, you need to ask yourself, “What exactly were my symptoms?” It is easy to pick up a few names of medical symptoms from a symptom checklist but doing that may misrepresent your symptoms. Without looking at any symptom checklist, try to focus on what exactly you felt when you had those symptoms. Your symptoms are uniquely yours and pre-selected symptom checklist may not fit your symptoms. If you felt like something was squeezing inside your chest, simply note that instead of picking “chest pain” from the symptom checklist.
Once you clearly note what exactly you felt, get the other parts of the story correct. Your symptoms tell a unique story, a story of what actually happened inside your body. Pay attention to how your symptoms progress. Are your symptoms constant without any waxing or waning? Are your symptoms getting worse by the minute? Is there anything that makes your symptoms worse? Anything that makes them better? When you answer these questions correctly, you will get the whole story of what your body is trying to tell you. Getting your own story correct is the most important step of self diagnosis if you want to get it right.
Here is a summary of steps to answer, “What do my symptoms mean?”:
- How exactly did my symptoms start?
- What exactly did I feel with my symptoms?
- How did my symptoms progress?
- What made my symptoms better?
- What made my symptoms worse?
- What else happened when I had those symptoms?
Basic medical knowledge needed for self diagnosis
Once you get the story of your symptoms correct, you need to be able to understand them. To understand what your body is trying to tell you, you need some basic medical knowledge. Do not worry, you do not need to go to medical school to get this required knowledge for self diagnosis. Anyone can easily learn the basics of how your organs function. This book “Symptoms and Diagnosis” is designed to teach you basic medical knowledge that you can use to perform self diagnosis. It is very easy to understand. It is written in a simple non-technical language. You do not need to be in any medical field to enjoy “Symptoms and Diagnosis” and learn from it. It teaches you by example. You read interesting medical stories and learn about the basic mechanisms of your body organs along the way. After reading 20 medical stories, you will have just enough medical knowledge to interpret what your body is trying to tell you when you are sick.
After learning the basics of how your body works, you will be able to make sense of the story of your symptoms. You are the master of your body. You can understand the story of your symptoms better than anyone else can. When you put your symptoms together and relate that with your basic medical knowledge, self diagnosis will come to you naturally.
When you analyze your symptoms and do self diagnosis by connecting your story with your body organs, you will decrease the chance of getting a misdiagnosis from your doctor when you eventually seek help. When you tell the story of your illness in the way it relates to your body organs, your doctor will be compelled to follow the true diagnostic path.
To recap, yes you can definitely do self diagnosis as long as you follow the story of your symptoms properly. This type of self diagnosing is not just possible but is also very beneficial. On the contrary, when you do self diagnosis by doing a symptom search, it will mislead you. Self diagnosis by symptom search can derail your thought and may interfere your doctor’s diagnostic thinking. It can lead to misdiagnosis and complications.