Two Doctors were walking along the street when they saw an old man walking with his legs spread apart. He was stiff-legged and walking slowly.
One Doctor that produces the popular Peltry Syndrome podcast and Facebook page, said to his friend: “I’m sure that poor old man has Peltry Syndrome. Those people walk just like that in videos they post on my Facebook page.”
The other Doctor, author of the best selling book, “Zovitzki Syndrome – Know It All” says: “No, I don’t think so. The old man surely has Zovitzki Syndrome. He walks slowly and his legs are apart, just as I wrote in my best selling book.”
Since they couldn’t agree they decided to ask the old man. They approached him. And one of the Doctors said to him, “We’re Doctors and couldn’t help but notice the way you walk. We couldn’t agree on the syndrome you might have. Could you tell us what it is?”
The old man said, “I’ll tell you, but first you tell me what you two fine Doctors think.”
The first Doctor said, “I think it’s Peltry Syndrome.” The old man said, “You thought – but you are wrong.”
The other Doctor said, “I think you have Zovitzki Syndrome.” The old man said, “You thought – but you are wrong.”
So they asked him, “Well, old timer, what do you have?”
The old man said, “Well, I thought it was GAS – but I was wrong, too!”
“Most Doctors Practice In A Manner That Is A Direct Reflection Of The Expectations Of Their Peer Group.” Social Media platforms, i.e. Facebook, are ideal for the formation of Peer Groups.
You’re convinced you have a thyroid condition, though you can’t get your doctor to believe you. Or maybe you think you’ve got multiple chemical sensitivity because you seem to be allergic to everything from fabric softener to perfume.
Or perhaps it’s some kind of chronic Lyme disease – after all, ticks are everywhere and you haven’t felt right in years.
You have done your research on the Internet. You joined multiple social media support groups. The WebPages and social media groups have convenient links to buy the product that “help” everyone with your condition.
Although we live longer and more healthily than ever before, the Internet has enabled us to become a nation of worriers – to the point of being hypochondriacs, even – convinced that we have what some doctors now call “fad diseases” or the latest “Diagnosis du jour.” Questioning why you are not seeing improvement when others are.
Now before anybody goes ballistic, let’s be clear here. A doctor can miss a diagnosis that a patient gets right. Every one of these fad diagnosis du jour illnesses has a piece that is real.
A disease might be called “trendy,” when a Professional or Social Media Influencer brings it to awareness, which causes lots of people to suddenly seem to have it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not real. And there’s no question that the medical establishment has a lousy history of telling people – especially women – that some very real diseases are all in their heads when they aren’t.
Trendy SIBO: Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth was a new diagnosis in the 1990s that started the probiotic movement. It failed miserably. Eventually the focus shifted to Candida due to the “culture” based stool tests showing positive for Candida 70% of the time. (DNA tests show Candida less than 3% of the time.) SIBO fell by the wayside until a Professional Influencer did a one time class on SIBO. The professional forums and social media groups blew up overnight with everyone now having SIBO. It was so obvious when those commenting on a thread one day were calling it one thing and later in the same thread convinced it is now SIBO.
But while some of these trendy new diseases are unquestionably real, it is also true that certain syndromes like chronic fatigue, attention deficit disorder and the vague muscle aches of fibromyalgia – to name but a few – seem to act like magnets for people who don’t really have them.
Diagnosis du jour is big business. The Professional and Social Media Influencers are quick to recommend a multitude of products that all have been shown to be helpful in curing their diagnosis du jour of choice.
What sufferers of these and other mysteriously modish maladies may have – and definitely don’t want to hear about – is the simple foundations needed for health, or some other more mundane but stigmatized problem. For example, insulin resistance produces the same symptoms as low thyroid, i.e. fatigue, weight gain. In fact, insulin resistance causes thyroid over-conversion.
Diagnosis by Social Media Proof
But unfortunately, the specific criteria for making the diagnosis are overlooked in favor of the vague symptoms. And sometimes, even if there are criteria, those of us in primary care may be unaware of them, because the vague symptoms have by popular demand become the critical criteria for the diagnosis du jour. So these illnesses are often over-diagnosed. If it doesn’t fit, you must release the diagnosis du jour.
Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people take on the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.
The danger of buying into the disease du jour is the potential for a lot of wasted time and money. A host of supplements and alternative treatments always pop up to address these popular diagnoses. You are much better off getting a definitive diagnosis in the first place.
Today’s Professional and Social Media Influencer present a collection of grim symptoms as a “disease” because illness and suffering are simply too profitable to let slip out of fashion. People speak of how cancer is profitable. So are Thyroid, Lyme and Fibromyalgia. All of the popular diagnosis du jours have been claimed as dangerously in need of such “medical care” as drugs, supplements, cleanses or therapeutic treatment. The list is too numerous to mention.
Professional and Social Media Influencers are promoting these conditions as life-long, with little to no hope of getting better. They are taking advantage of this while too many continue to suffer because they are stuck in the Echo Chamber.