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Why You Should Visit Health Forums Before the Doctor

Aug 9, 2008
We've all been there. You've called to make the appointment and can't be squeezed in for a day or two. Instead of chewing over what's worrying you and pacing the floor aimlessly, why not take a more positive step? Visit a health forum online while you're waiting to see the doctor and reap the benefits.

Health forums can be an excellent source of information before and after your visit to the doctor's office. You can find ones relating to almost any health concern you can think of. Although of course nothing can replace the face to face consultation with a medical professional, there's still much value in paying the forums a visit. So what's so great about them?

The wisdom of shared experience

When you're facing a health challenge, a camaraderie of sorts usually forms between fellow sufferers. You feel a desire to band together with others that have been in your shoes. These forums are an excellent platform of this. Those seeking information discover that health forum members want to share their knowledge, perhaps remembering their own first tentative steps towards finding out more about the condition. Some are so well versed on their disease they'd put the doctors to shame. There's nothing like being personally affected by it to give you a thirst for knowledge.

With their benefit of hindsight, members discuss what's worked and what hasn't, what they would have done differently, even what they think of their doctor. Suddenly you have a considerably large group you can learn from right at your fingertips instead of just your own doctor's input. Health forums can provide you with questions you'd have never thought to ask and many, many answers.

Time is of the essence

Think back to your last visit to your doctor's office. Not counting the time spent in the waiting room, how long was your appointment? Ten minutes? Fifteen minutes? Doctors are of course extremely busy people. Any decent person will respect those time constraints. However in the rush not to waste the doctor's time, patients don't always articulate exactly what they wanted to say.

If you've ever walked out after an appointment and realized half way home that you didn't mention something, you'll be happy to know you'd have no such issues at health forums.

There's no hurry. It's all done at your own pace. You can for example make a post with your symptoms and see if anyone responds. You have time to think through carefully what you want to say. Allowing yourself to feel less pressured increases your chances of sharing exactly what you mean to.

A great thing about a health forum post is it's there for posterity. No one's going to set time limits of ten or fifteen minutes and then whisk them away yelling, "Time up." The majority of forums even allow you to set up email notification of replies.

Forgot to mention something? There's a simple fix. You can return and add more details to your post. It takes no time at all to do so.

Without making a second doctor's appointment, you missed that chance to backtrack at the initial visit. Sometimes the smallest of details can make the difference between the doctor getting it right or a misdiagnosis. Doctors are human, after all. Some feel a little intimidated by them though which makes it easy to get muddled and forget. With health forums, you can go back and review what you said time and time again at your own leisurely pace.

Let's say you decide you need to inform your doctor of what you'd forgotten after all. There's nothing stopping you from printing out your forum post and sending it to his office or taking it in with you next time. That's another benefit of a forum post- it's easy to both access and share.

Paying the price of good health

Be thankful if you live in a country where healthcare is freely available or cheap. Studies carried out by Blue Cross determined that in the US you'll pay probably at least $60 for a doctor's office appointment. That's just to sit in the chair. Any subsequent tests or treatments soon add up. It makes perfect sense to go to your appointment as well prepared as you possibly can be to keep those visits to a minimum.

Health forums have a vast amount of information on practically every disease and condition under the sun. You'll see some even have doctors available there for you to ask questions. The usefulness of these communities and their gigantic scope should not be underestimated. You'll find treatment options, the side effects of medication, alternative therapies, dietary help and more at them. Many find it much easier to ask for help or advice anonymously too on a forum, especially regarding intimate matters.

So the next time you're waiting to see your doctor, why not visit the health forums first? You'll be far more ready for your doctor's questions. You might even find after going to a health forum, you don't feel the need to see him after all! Health forums are also very good venues for finding peer to peer support, sharing advice on common ailments and discussing simple treatments.

Stay healthy!
About the Author
Caroline Cardenas is a health and fitness guru. She is the administrator of a large health forum at Biggest Health Forum where you'll find thousands of messages covering every topic imaginable. Click over now to the CureYourBody.com Health Forums
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