While only a licensed medical practitioner can offer you an actual diagnosis, sometimes, they just do not get it right. And, as is the case with many specialists, you might find that you have a months-long wait before you can even be seen for your first appointment. So, what can you do in the time that you have to wait for an actual diagnosis? You certainly do not want to have any of your symptoms get worse. That is why it is important to do research and learn from others who have similar health issues how you can best take care of yourself while waiting for a medical diagnosis.
Advocating for Yourself
As almost any doctor will tell you, managing your symptoms also involves coping with the emotions and stress that they bring. If your symptoms are ongoing (as is the case with chronic pain and fatigue), you have the right to be worried. However, it is important to keep in mind that stress and anxiety can make symptoms even worse. Prepare yourself mentally and physically to be your own doctor. Know that, when you do see a doctor, they will likely have some biased decisionsthey make regarding your health, so you will have to be your own advocate.
Keep a Journal of Your Symptoms
Before making your first appointment to see a primary care physician such as Rural Health Services Consortium Inc., you should consider keeping a journal detailing your symptoms. Log the date, time, symptom(s) experienced, and the severity of your symptom(s). You can use the 1-10 pain rating scale, on which 1 indicates very mild pain while 10 indicates serious and debilitating pain. You can also keep a record of what you eat, what type of exercise you are getting, and what your stress levels are each day. There are plenty of free, downloadable symptom tracker templates available online that make this process more organized.
Try an Online Symptom Checker
Although you cannot get a true medical diagnosis from using one, an online symptom checker can help you learn which diseases and disorders share your symptoms. For example, if you are experiencing sudden heart palpitations while changing positions, a symptom checker will give you a list of ailments for which this is a common symptom. You might see things like generalized anxiety disorder, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), and atrial fibrillation on that list. While this does not give concrete evidence, you can start to do more research.
Connect with Others Via Social Media
Even if you don’t have a diagnosis, joining an online support group for those with your symptoms can be beneficial. Facebook has groups started by those diagnosed with various diseases and disorders that offer helpful information about how to get diagnosed and treated as well as emotional support.
While you cannot give yourself an actual diagnosis, you can take these initial steps in getting yourself the care you need. Remember, if any of your symptoms are making it difficult to breathe or you feel like you might pass out, get emergency medical assistance and keep all documentation of the care you receive.