Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Mayo Clinic Symptom Checker

Q: I have lots of symptoms, but don’t know how best to discuss them with my doctor. Can you give me some help?

A: I subscribe to a monthly "e-letter" from the Mayo Clinic. In this August's e-letter, the "Tools for Healthier Lives" section contained a specific tool that I thought might be of great interest to those looking to better communicate with their doctors!! Under the category "Diseases and Conditions", the Mayo Clinic offers a SYMPTOM CHECKER.

Here's the link to this tool:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/symptom-checker/DS00671


Here's what the introduction to this guide says:

"Use this guide to discover the most common causes of the most common symptoms." The list is split into one for Adults and one for children.

The guide further cautions that it is a Guide only; that you should work with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

When you click onto a "condition" you are taken to a page where you can identify symptoms and other information about the specific "condition". Then, on the right side of that page, you'll find a list of "situations" where the Mayo Clinic states that if you have THIS, see your doctor entitled "When to seek medical advice".

To provide you with an example, I selected the condition "Numbness of tingling in hands". The next page allowed me to select from the following categories:

* Symptoms
* Triggered by
* Relieved by
* Accompanied by

Based on my selections, I was taken to the next page that offered me a choice of 5 "possible causes" of my symptoms:

1) Peripheral Neuropathy
2) Pinched nerve
3) Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
4) "football stingers"
5) Stroke

In this way, I can copy my symptoms and what might be the possible causes and take the info to my personal doctor and ask for clarification.

Hope that this helps some of you!!

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