Pathophysiology & The Spread of Misinformation Just Because It's On The Internet Doesn't Mean It's True

The spread of health-related misinformation is a serious modern-day issue that affects the consumer as well as medical professionals. Although the accessibility of information on the internet is beneficial for research purposes and to gain insight on new ideas and problems, the ease of putting information on the internet makes it easy to stumble across untrue information that is harmful to health and environmental communities.

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This can cause individuals to read false articles that they then use to justify their own arguments, and it creates a cycle of misinformation among family and friends that can spread further and lead entire communities to believe fallacies. Therefore, when it comes to health, it’s important to trust medical professionals and credible sources above anyone else.

Pathophysiology and Misinformation

Many people will believe anything they read on the internet that supports whatever preconceived notion they have on a subject. They don’t take the time to find credible sources for their beliefs because doing so can lead to potentially disproving their own argument and beliefs — and nobody likes to be wrong. Therefore, people often look to be self-affirmed on the internet, and specifically look for sources that won’t discredit them. Given the amount of people posting online, this causes trends in health concerns that rise to popularity through shares and social media.

This can lead people, especially hypochondriacs, to believe that small and everyday symptoms, such as bruising, soreness and pimples, can be signs of serious illness and disease. It can also lead people to blanket chemicals, habits and substances as dangerous when that is not always the case. Pathophysiology is a medical term for the disordered physiological processes associated with disease or injury, and is the type of information that is best provided by a medical professional. Pathophysiology is used to help diagnose patients, as well as to deliver patient care, as it focuses on the function and symptoms of diseased organs.

While serious diseases can have symptoms that may appear to be as casual as bruising, the likelihood of small symptoms being the cause of non-serious issues is more likely than the chances of having a rare disease, especially if no other symptoms are present. Although it’s important to prioritize your health and be your own advocate, the consequences of misinformation include a waste of money and resources.

In order to avoid this, people should think critically about their symptoms and avoid believing everything that is written on the internet, especially from sources that may not be credible.

Common Misconceptions

Some common misconceptions often include the effects of chemicals like GMOs, parabens, and even food products like gluten. The internet provides a battlefield for truth where facts and opinions often take up the same amount of space and argue just as vehemently. Even 10 years after Food Inc., a documentary exposing the harmfulness of GMOs and their lack of effectiveness in crops, laws remain neutral and public opinion remains divided.

This is due to Monsanto’s effective marketing directors who are able to change and manipulate public opinion through information control and various marketing tactics. By highlighting the pros and ignoring the cons of a company’s impact, businesses are able to strategize and control public perception, which is then further assessed through research studies. While these practices can help sustain companies, their effects can be unethical.

Parabens are another chemical that keep those who have the time and energy to care divided. Parabens are a group of synthetic compounds that are used to preserve health, beauty and personal care products. They are also found in most standard grocery items, which makes them difficult to avoid, and means that most people carry the chemicals in their bodies.

Although there have been connections linked to parabens and diseases like cancer, the FDA approves the use of this chemical compound in measured amounts. It’s important to be careful of what you are putting in and on your body, however, some chemicals are largely unavoidable.

Instead of believing a clickbait article being share amongst friends, do your own research to discover the legitimacy of concerns about chemicals and other common substances. It’s important to be aware of your body and be careful not to overlook symptoms, but if you are really concerned about something that seems abnormal, schedule an appointment to speak with a medical professional about your symptoms. This can help give you peace of mind and will prevent you from unnecessarily avoiding foods and non-harmful substances based on trends.

There are a lot of harmful substances with research and studies that are not controversial, but that people choose to ignore, all the while panicking about other chemicals and products that are not as dangerous. While we can care about a wide variety of issues, ignoring important issues to focus on scapegoats sets the environmental and health communities back from achieving feasible goals in health awareness.

By delegating our time carefully, we can increase efforts to important causes and spread information as a unified group of individuals who care about sharing vital and accurate information.