Importance of patient participation using information from the Internet

Friday, March 23, 2012

Patient input and participation in one’s care are extremely important. As a physician who was diagnosed with throat cancer I encountered many instances where my physicians failed to diagnose my condition and my input was instrumental in improving my care. That input often came from information I found on the Internet.

One example relates to the blood pressure I developed 16 month after receiving radiation treatment to my neck. I was initially labeled as suffering from “essential hypertension”, the most common cause of high blood pressure in individuals over the age of 65 years. I suspected that the radiation treatment I had received lead to the development of hypertension, but my physicians dismissed it. I started to check my blood pressure myself and noticed that it frequently spiked to over 190/110. After my physicians were unable to come with the correct diagnosis and treatment for this unstable blood pressure, I started searching the Web for answers. I was fortunate to discover a rare entity called “paroxysmal hypertension” that can result from radiation damage to the carotid artery baroreceptors. Only after I contacted the physician who researched that topic did I finally start to receive adequate treatment for this [...] continue the story