With the advent of the Internet came the ability for people to share knowledge on just about every topic imaginable. While most of that knowledge happens to center around fart jokes, some people have created websites dedicated to sharing useful information, such as websites on medical billing and coding. Medical coding websites allow people to look through symptoms of various diseases and perform self-diagnoses. Most of people’s self-diagnoses often go about as well as you’d expect from people who haven’t spent half their lives in medical school. Here are some medical conditions that pretty much everybody believes they have after reading about them on Wikipedia.
Asperger syndrome is a developmental disorder related to autism. Skimming an article about this condition will tell you that people suffering from Asperger syndrome usually have a tough time picking up on body language or other social cues, but can still interact with other people. They also say that people with Asperger syndrome often have an intent interest in narrow fields but are relatively uninformed about other topics. Then they will inform you that they have Aspergers and that you have to be extra nice to them now.
The problem is that many people are lazy, and don’t bother reading the detailed reports on what separates somebody with Asperger’s from a guy who really likes video games and is socially awkward. The simple description of Asperger’s makes it sound okay to not have social skills, since it is a medical condition and not at all caused by never learning to hold a conversation that wasn’t on the Internet.
Do you sometimes feel happy? Do you sometimes feel sad? If you answered yes to both of these questions with yes, then you may be suffering from bipolar disorder, as anybody will tell you that the definition is sometimes being depressed and sometimes being exuberant. The only problem with this definition is that everybody has good days and bad days. Chances are the day you get a kitten you will be ecstatic, and the day you realize it hates you with all its tiny black heart you will be depressed.
What makes this different from bipolar disorder is that there are actual triggers to that kind of mood swing, and they aren’t as extreme as those suffered by people who actually do have bipolar disorder. Otherwise a dropped pencil could lead you to intense depression quickly followed by an energetic happiness that scares the hell out of everybody around you. While getting sad and writing bad poetry followed by a night out getting drunk with friends does count as a change in moods, it certainly doesn’t qualify you for any medical conditions.
Gluten free food products are all the rage these days, because celiac disease has apparently spread to approximately 99% of women and women-like men. Celiac disease is a problem with being able to digest gluten, which causes the immune system to act up when gluten is ingested that keeps other vital nutrients from being absorbed into the body. This means that people who have celiac disease can’t eat gluten, otherwise they won’t be getting the nutrition that they need and will waste away until they have the body structure of Kate Moss.
While medical coding has not explained how people get celiac disease, most doctors are pretty sure that most people aren’t suffering from it. Our obesity rate in America certainly argues against everybody being unable to absorb their food. Still, a craze has swept the nation with many people suddenly realizing that they don’t like gluten in their bodies. Just because you don’t like gluten or really enjoy dieting fads, that doesn’t mean that you have a medical condition. You’re an adult, you can eat whatever you want without making up excuses for it.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
There is a big difference between liking things organized and having obsessive compulsive disorder. You can be so organized that normal people think you are weird and boring and somebody we don’t want to invite to any of our make-out parties, but that doesn’t mean you have a medical issue. It just means you are uptight.
People suffering from OCD actually have their lives affected in negative ways that go way beyond not kissing strangers in a hotel room this Wednesday. They have to have their possessions lined up in exact ways, flip light switches three times before leaving a room, or a variety of other things. These people literally cannot function if they don’t follow their routines exactly, rather than just having a hissy fit if their favorite pen is missing.
Symptoms of diabetes include blurry vision, dehydration, weight loss, and fatigue. This sounds an awful lot like the side effects of exercising, the bane of the obese. It makes it highly suspicious when overweight people diagnose themselves with diabetes. If they have diabetes than it may be extremely difficult for them to workout and lose weight because of the aforementioned symptoms.
People who actually do suffer from diabetes take insulin to avoid those side effects, and can actually live a fairly normal lifestyle. Jay Cutler, an NFL quarterback whose toughness has frequently been under question, has diabetes and manages to stay in good enough shape to be a professional quarterback. Maybe the next person you meet who has diagnosed themselves with diabetes should be put on a prescription of actually doing some sort of physical activity.