No, DIY healthcare doesn’t mean you ignore the doctor and search WebMD for a diagnosis (although we’ve all been guilty of that). DIY healthcare is more of a trend of self-care to prevent and treat minor ailments and manage chronic illness.
We would be remiss not to mention how the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the landscape of how we get care. With long waits for appointments and pandemic protocols making doctor visits a hassle, more people have committed to taking their health into their own hands—in a good way.
Some trends in DIY healthcare have included:
- Taking more supplements
- Smoking and vaping cessation
- At-home testing
- Tracking blood sugar
- Taking one’s blood pressure
- Using heart rate monitors or fitness apps
- At-home EKGs
While personalizing your healthcare can be an excellent way for many people to manage their health, it still comes with its fair share of pros & cons.
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Pros: Taking Health Into Your Own Hands
There are a few clear pros to taking health into your own hands: you’re more in control of your care, you can often save money, and you may have more privacy. Plus, many people find the self-care element to be empowering and motivating. Some of the specific benefits of DIY healthcare include:
- Being able to better manage chronic conditions. Mobile blood sugar monitoring systems for diabetes allow people real-time treatment and data. It can also help people with other chronic conditions take fewer trips to the doctor’s office, alleviate symptoms earlier, and prevent complications.
- Gaining a better understanding of your own body and health. Being in tune with your body can help you pay better attention to when things feel off or if your condition worsens (or gets better).
- Learning about treatments and strategies that work for you. Doctors often follow a standard protocol and may not always go to the unconventional treatment methods first. So DIY healthcare allows patients to find other treatments outside of standard practice that works better.
- Developing a support network of like-minded people. Many online groups and communities of people also engage in DIY healthcare. This can be a great resource for information, support, and friendship.
- Saving money on healthcare costs. Starting with diet, exercise, and other holistic prevention and care methods can save money with fewer trips to the doctor.
- Getting faster results for real-time treatment. Smartphone apps and mobile health devices offer real-time results for less waiting and more data.
- Preventing illness and getting ahead of symptoms. Frequently, people engage in DIY healthcare to prevent an illness from happening in the first place or to catch it early on.
Cons: Risks Detrimental to Your Health
There are also a few clear cons to taking health into your own hands: you may not have the necessary knowledge or experience, you could miss significant symptoms, and you may struggle to maintain consistency. Some of the specific risks of DIY healthcare include:
- Not getting the necessary care or medication. There are scenarios where DIY healthcare isn’t going to get you the adequate care you need, which could be life-threatening. Always make sure to see a doctor for severe matters or changes in your condition.
- Developing wrong diagnoses. It can be very easy to find your exact symptoms online and develop your own diagnosis, then treat yourself based on that diagnosis. This can be detrimental to your health.
- Suffering from injuries while trying to treat yourself. Be well informed and trained on any at-home kits or medical equipment you may need to use.
- Not being able to stick with a treatment plan. Sticking to your regimen is required to adequately treat many illnesses or conditions and injuries. Make sure you have backup plans in place to stick to your treatment plan.
- Taking unsafe measures. If you are going to make any changes to your medication or treatment, always check with a professional first.
- Isolating yourself from people who can help. Some people may turn to DIY healthcare due to anxiety about going to the doctor. This can be dangerous, and you should always have someone else to discuss your healthcare plans with.
The Best Way to Utilize DIY Healthcare
The bottom line is that DIY healthcare can be an excellent way for many people to manage their health, but it’s not suitable for everyone. Ultimately, it’s essential to talk to your doctor about any changes you want to make to your care and always be aware of the risks associated with DIY healthcare.
If you want to manage your diabetes more conveniently, contact Pops DIabetes. We have the tools and resources to help you continue utilizing DIY healthcare in your day-to-day treatment plans. Reach out today!