Thanks to technology, access to medical information is available at the click of a (keyboard) button. However, is this really a good thing? Here are the pros and cons of turning to technology to improve your health.
The digital revolution has changed our lives tremendously and this includes the way we handle our health. Its impact is so great that ‘going offline’ can be a tough challenge for most of us. Smartphones, tablets, computers and other types of gadgets allow us to conveniently stay connected with friends and family around the world — every minute of every day.
While there is nothing wrong with embracing the amazing benefits technology has brought into our lives, we should also be aware of the dangers it can pose — specifically when it comes to health. Find out the pros and cons of using technology to improve your health, so you can enjoy the benefits and stay clear of the dangers.
Search engines, phone applications and other similar tech tools can help you gain clarity on health issues that you’re puzzled about, keep track of your fitness level and connect you to medical experts around the world. Here are some amazing benefits you can look forward to:
Easily accessible information
Interested in finding out the nutritional benefits of the vegetable you’re cooking for dinner? Perhaps you want to find out more about the side effects that are related to the medication you’re taking? With health information just a click away, you can find relevant medical data, promptly. Search engines and forums allow you to increase your knowledge about your health and you also have the freedom to compare between different information providers. Turning to the digital world helps you save time. However, it is important to note that the information you find on the internet does not replace the input you will receive from a medical expert.
A virtual world of support
Living with a disease can make you feel alone; like no one understands what you’re going through. You might feel lonely, angry, hurt and resentful because you are forced to deal with a disease that has taken over your life. The digital world is a world without borders and through forums, websites and even social media you can connect with others who are in the same situation as you. You can seek advice and share your experiences with them, which may help you to stay strong and adopt a more positive outlook on life.
Share useful health information
Sharing information about health via the digital world allows you to create more awareness about the topic and it also increases everyone’s knowledge. A common platform such as social media is a useful tool to share such information. On social media, you can reach out to your circle of friends and this will probably create a chain reaction as your friends share the information with their friends and on and on. However, make sure you only follow and share health information from credible sources.
Know your health
Health applications, websites and gadgets such as digital wristbands, heart rate monitors and even Kegel exercise devices are some of the tools that can help you keep track of your health. Knowing your blood sugar level, blood pressure and even your weight can help you to understand and be more aware of your body. Technology has made these tools conveniently accessible for everyone and yes — this means that there’s no reason for you not to get fit and healthy!
Now that you’re aware of the benefits of living in an innovative world, you should also know how about the downsides. Knowing what not to do makes you a responsible tech user so don’t be afraid to share this with your friends too.
One possible worry when it comes accessing information easily, is the question of credibility. When looking up health related information on the internet, check where the information is coming from as you would not want to follow or spread false information. As a guide, look out for articles which include advice from medical experts, those from healthcare providers or credible media sources. Sharing useful and credible health news and medical expert insights will benefit everyone but the wrong information can prove extremely dangerous. If you’re unsure, check with your doctor.
The perils of self-diagnosis
No thanks to technology, self-diagnosis is now a worrying issue among internet users. While the World Wide Web provides an vast array of health guides, data and other tips, it is important to note that the what you find online does not replace your doctor. Self-diagnosis is dangerous and can ruin your health or aggravate an existing health situation. Self-diagnosis can also create unnecessary stress as some people will assume that the symptoms they are experiencing is caused by a condition or disease that is much worse than what they actually have. Remember, health tests and an accurate diagnosis from a medical expert are critical and will also ensure that you receive the right treatment.
A dangerous marketplace
If you browse through the internet, you may come across a variety of health products. These usually come with an array of health benefits and you may be tempted to buy them. However, before purchasing any health products online, you should conduct some research to learn more about them. If possible, talk about your intended purchase with your doctor. You should know that while some health products sold online are from reliable sources, there are also those that are not certified by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and can potentially cause you harm. Try visiting www.pharmacy.gov.my and www.bpfk.gov.my to check if the product you are interested in has been approved by the MOH.
It’s wonderful to live in an innovative world where technology can help you improve your health easily. However, don’t forget to exercise caution when it comes to the information you find and be sure to consult your doctor for proper medical advice.