Emotional Wellbeing

Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

3 Ways The Digital Age Is Helping Our Health (And One Way It’s Not)

Health is simultaneously one of the toughest subjects to talk about and also one of the most essential. If we all had our way, we’d spend less time and less money on it than we do, but the truth of the matter is that only by informing ourselves on the best ways to be healthy can we end up learning a lot, all at once, because we’ve ended up in front of a doctor with a health issue that requires constant treatment. 


Staying on top of health matters is not easy – depending on where you live, it can be extremely tricky to get an appointment with your own doctor. It is, however, increasingly possible to keep yourself informed and healthy by harnessing the benefits of technology. Below, we will go into the ways that the digital age is making it easier to monitor your health.


Eating and drinking the right things

Once upon a time, if you wanted to have the lowdown on how to eat the right things for your lifestyle, you needed to speak to a nutritionist and have a plan set out for you. The modern age, though, has allowed anyone with a smartphone to keep track of their meals and exercise regime just by using an app. Fill in a few details about yourself and your everyday life, and the app will tell you how many calories a day you need to maintain your current weight or lose what you need to lose. 


Such apps will even allow you to track specific nutrients such as protein, fat and carbs so that you can prioritise the foods you need to eat more of. This is particularly beneficial for people who have intolerances and allergies to certain foods.


See a doctor without going to the surgery


We’ve all been in the situation where we feel like a visit to the doctor is in order, but actually getting an appointment can be particularly frustrating. You need to phone in at a specific time, are likely to end up on hold, and can then find that you miss the window where there were appointments available. Fortunately, more and more of us are finding out about how telehealth can help by allowing you to speak to a doctor without the inconvenience of an in-person appointment. For minor concerns, the ability to send pictures and go through simple diagnostic questions can be a godsend.


This is also particularly beneficial from a contagion point of view, especially for people with compromised immune systems. The ability to speak to a doctor without sitting in a waiting room filled with people carrying potentially contagious illnesses can be – literally – life-saving.


Dealing with a testing time


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Waiting for information is one of the worst experiences for anyone dealing with a health scare. No matter how reassuring your doctor may be regarding the possible seriousness of a condition, it’s a situation that is fraught with concern. The period between being told that you need a test, and the test results being in your possession, is painful. This can be even worse if you are told that there is a waiting list for appointments to even get tested.


Fortunately, it is becoming increasingly possible to order medical tests yourself and carry them out in the comfort of your own home – with the assistance of a dedicated professional if necessary. While any such tests should always be followed up by a doctor’s appointment to discuss the results, being able to answer a question is always better than being left in doubt. If you are able to walk into your doctor’s surgery with some useful information, it becomes easier to rule some conditions out – and get a head-start on dealing with any you may have.


One way the digital age isn’t helping…


While having more information at our fingertips is always better than having less, it would not be appropriate to talk about the advantages of this development without also considering some of the negative aspects. Any time any one of us experiences a sniffle, an ache or any other symptom, it can be tempting to look online for more information. This is often known as consulting “Dr. Google”, and is almost always a one-way ticket to anxiety.


Doctors – whether visited in person or spoken to online – have a level of expertise that allows them to analyse symptoms and ask the right questions. On any given day, most of us might experience an ache or twinge that could, within a few clicks on a search engine, have us believing that we are seriously ill. Always leave the diagnosing to the people who are experts in it; they know what they are doing.

Featured image:

Pixabay – CC0 Licence