Arm yourself with information

You can get the most out of your visit to the doctor and take an active role in your well-being by becoming an informed patient. Discover the benefits of gathering information. You will be able to ask relevant questions and you will understand what your doctor will tell you.

But there is so much information circulating on health, how can you determine which ones are reliable?

Use strategies to help you make the difference between fact and misguided assumptions:

Be as specific as possible. If you search online for a trivial condition, you can get thousands, even millions, of results. But, if you refine your question using terms defined, fewer results you will eliminate unnecessary.

Recognize trusted sites. When it comes to Internet myths outnumber the facts. So how do you know which sites are based on evidence? Examine the sources. Medical associations, universities, hospitals, companies that support research on a disease, often provide accurate and reliable information. But, if an item seems to extol the virtues of a product or remedy it may lack objectivity.

Analyze the methodology. You do not need to hold a medical degree to know how to assess the reliability of a study. Studies credible, and well conducted, are published in scientific journals that require medical experts to present a report. You must also consider the research model. For example, in the case of clinical trials on the efficacy and safety of a drug, look for randomized, comparative double-blind and conducted with a large population. In these studies, participants are randomly assigned into at least two groups, one receiving the study drug, and the other, the standard treatment or placebo (a pill containing no active substance) - and, in order not to influence the results, nor the staff administering the treatment nor the participants know who is taking medication or placebo.

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