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Doing Your Research

In today’s world, information is literally at your fingertips. While this provides many benefits, it also can be difficult to know which information is accurate and which is not.

This is especially true when it comes to health and disease management. In order to achieve optimal health and receive the best care, your engagement is crucial as is arming yourself with education on your very individual health issues. Here are a few tips to ensure you are getting your information from a reputable source:

Ask your trusted primary provider.

Your physician should be able to recommend sources he or she feels are reliable and that will help you educate yourself on your particular concerns. Keep in mind, especially within large care organizations which may be encouraged to limit recommendations to within their particular organization. One example is if you are looking for a reputable company for home health services or rehabilitation services. While it may be easier for the healthcare system to refer to their own services, it isn’t always the best option for you. If they make a recommendation, don’t be afraid to ask what it is about a particular resource they find optimal.

Utilize nationally known sources with a solid reputation.

Organizations such as the Center for Disease Control, American Diabetes Association, American Lung Association, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and the National Institute for Health have been around for a very long time and have a reputation of being reputable. Some organizations that make claims based on research are funded by political groups or organizations that you may or may not support and that may not be supported by the scientific community. The research and outcomes can, therefore, be biased and that is a key piece of information to keep in mind. Some research is funded by drug companies and they have an incentive for a particular outcome that supports a need for their medication.

Don’t depend solely on the internet.

There are many, many books written by reputable authors on managing specific chronic diseases or prevention of disease. Once you have established your health philosophy and have a real grasp of how you wish to proceed with preventing or managing the disease, go to the bookstore or your local library, and start reading.

Be cautious of message boards or blogs.

While there are great opportunities for online support, keep in mind much of what you may read on these sites is pure opinion or one person’s experience. Sometimes you will find people who are even trying to sell things on these boards or blogs and while they may wholeheartedly believe a supplement or product they are pitching will cure your ailments, ultimately they may have a financial interest. Stay sharp and maintain a good filter.