WebMD < Real Doctor

The Internet is a terrible resource for making a self-diagnosis.

I’ve been feeling a little off kilter lately, having these bouts with dizziness or just little head rushes. I’ve had a clean bill of health my whole life, so there’s no reason for me to believe it’s anything serious. However, it’s unpleasant, and being a man who needs answers, I took to the Internet (at first) to find out what’s wrong with me.

Enter: WebMD.com and its Symptom Checker.

Always be wary of sites that use a male body with ambiguous genitalia.

If you’ve never used this site’s feature, believe me, it’s a hypochondriac’s playground. I used it a few times when I didn’t have health insurance, but now that I’m covered, it seems like a silly waste of time. But regardless, here’s what I learned:

Symptoms I Included

  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Spinning sensation

Symptoms That Were Options I Wanted to Include

  • Craving to eat ice, dirt or paper
  • Fear of air
  • Impaired social skills
  • Punching or kicking in sleep
  • Sense of impending doom

They really do offer a comprehensive list, which would seem to give you a better idea of just what’s going on. But, for proof nothing beats a real MD, here’s the list of possible conditions they offered:

Conditions I’m Pretty Sure I Don’t Have

  • Middle ear infection
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Anemia, chronic disease
  • Anemia, iron deficiency
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Medication reaction or side-effect
  • Hyperventilation
  • Migraine headache
  • Insulin reaction (hypoglycemia)
  • Panic attack
  • Chronic sinusitis

Conditions That Seem Logical, But Unlikely

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • Diabetes, type 2
  • Heart rhythm disorder

Most Likely Condition Causing Symptoms

  • Excessive caffeine usage

Yeah, so that said, I’m scheduling a physical examination today. Even if I have to hear I’m fine, I’m fine with that. It’s one of those better-safe-than-sorry scenarios.

My guess? It’s all mental. My sister lost her best friend just a couple of weeks ago to a pulmonary embolism. She was 21, in perfect health, and all of a sudden, her body failed her.

I do what I can to stay healthy. I eat right, work out regularly, get plenty of sleep, take a daily multivitamin and fish oil. I should have very little to be worried about here. Still, I’m getting the physical exam because I would rather be proactive concerning my health. Now that I’ve got health insurance, why not?

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5 thoughts on “WebMD < Real Doctor

    • In my defense, I accidentally bought a pound of decaf. I didn’t even realize it for the first few days. I’ve also cut soda out of my diet, like, completely. Aside from the occasional sugar free energy drink, I’ve been a good boy.

      I have signficantly upped my merlot intake, though. That…could…explain…hmmm…

  1. Yeah don’t go to the internet, I ran into that this past fall. According to the internet, I had a terrible illness. Doctor told me I was fine and to just relax, Oh and to stop drinking 1-2 sugar free red bulls a day. I’m sure he will tell you the same. Go on vacation, it helps ha. Good luck.

  2. Try being a medical student – you have the most zebra of illnesses in whatever system you are studying. Thus far in school I have had: Addison’s disease, an insulinoma, a cardiomyopathy, pheochromocytoma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, leukemia, etc. :) drink some water buddy…
    ps i enjoy your blogging

    • True story: I played b-ball for the first time in like 7 months last night. My legs are dead after just a few times up and down the court, and I started to thinking of high school when you tore your knee. I was thinking, “Man, AJ was in perfect shape and that happened. I’m out of shape. I’m going to end up paralyzed.” And then I see you commented. Crazy! Thanks for reading, AJ.

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