Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Handy Tool to Assess Your Medical Symptoms

resources to rely on

What Elephant?

Do you love the thrill of the hunt? Does the idea of the unknown being unmasked send shivers down your spine? Do you - OK, enough questions - let's get to it.


You awake one morning to find your left hand has an odd tingling sensation. You imagine you simply slept in an awkward position and give it little thought. But, reaching for the toothbrush in the bathroom, you find your right hand has also joined in the I-want-some-attention morning parade. Hmm... Come to think of it, you noticed a little tingling a few days ago at the park.

Being a health conscious, middle-aged husband and father you choose the responsible course of action: you ignore the symptoms, feeling quite confident your failure to think about them will cause them to lose interest and disappear. You grab a quick breakfast, jump in the car and buzz off to work. Cranking up the radio for a little added distraction, you settle in and let your mind wander with the beat of... What? What's wrong with your foot? Last week it was a rhythmic tapping fool, but - where did this numbness come from?

Yes, of course - the reasonable course of action would be detour to your doctor's office and find out what's going on with your belligerent body. But, barring the revelation of reason, there is a tool that may help guide your initial steps.

Mayo Clinic provides a Symptom Checker that allows reluctant patients to assess their medical condition from the privacy of their computer. The interactive tool allows patients to enter a set of symptoms and settle upon a possible cause. Patients may then more fully explore the condition, its underlying causes and symptoms, and the available treatment options.

Had our husband and father checked his symptoms, he would have found possible causes of Peripheral Neuropathy, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Pinched Nerve, Football Stingers and Stroke. If he had sustained no recent injuries he could probably eliminate the Pinched Nerve and Football Stingers. If his activities require no repetitive motions, Carpal Tunnel could also be discarded. Now, with just a couple of conditions with which to deal, he may stand a fighting chance of discovering something of value.

While not perfect, and certainly not a substitute for medical treatment, the Symptom Checker is a valuable tool in the self-assessment process. So, go ahead, enjoy yourself - click on to the Symptom Checker site and let your imagination go wild. Get all those pent up conditions, real or imagined, out of your system and onto the Internet where they belong.

Come to think of it... you may want to start with the Carpal Tunnel symptoms and treatments. By the time you're done clicking away your multitude of ills and aches, you're sure to develop a case worthy of treatment...

To start your neurotic exploration of all conditions real and imagined, visit the Symptom Checker.


Blogger Kristen King, Inkthinker said...

My husband had the very same situation the other week, tingling and numbness in his left arm and hand, so of course he did nothing and I totally freaked out that he was in the early stages of a heart attack. (Yes, I do tend to overreact about health issues, I know.) After a visit to the doctor, which I shamed him into making, he discovered that he has carpal tunel, which makes sense. A short course of prednisone to relieve the discomfort and an evaluation of the ways his daily actions contribute to the issue solved the problem in just a few days!


4:29 PM  
Blogger Devon Ellington said...

Fantastic resource -- thanks so much!

9:14 AM  
Blogger Tony Gentile said...

Hey Tim -

Apologies if this is too commercial, but given how passionately you wrote about the Mayo Symptom Checker, I thought you might be interested in checking out the new Symptom Search feature just launched by Healthline. (Yes, I work for the company.)

I wrote a little bit about it on my personal blog if your interested in some perspective on this space:

All the best,
tony --

1:29 PM  
Blogger Gabby Stone said...

Suffering from a long term disease and can't find a real solution for the disease by using pills or medicines just try some Home Remedies for that disease. Home remedies are the best way to get rid of any disease. Becausue home remedies have no side effects and you can take them regularly and treat the disease permanently.

4:20 AM  

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