Introduction to Diagnosis123

You’re sick, and want someone to do something.  But Clinicians / Medical Providers (nurse practitioners, doctors, physician assistants, etc.) can’t truly help much unless we know what’s wrong.  We need a Diagnosis — our Diagnosis123  website shows how we think it through.

Our starting point is always your Main Symptom.  Pick from our Symptom Menu.  The initial link might then ask you to narrow it down, for example:

โ€ข Headache:   “Acute” (<3-4 wks)  OR  “Recurrent” (comes, goes, recurs)  OR  “Chronic” (>1 month)
โ€ข Chest Pain:  “Pleuritic” (hurts with each breath)  OR  “Non-Pleuritic” (steady pain)
โ€ข etcโ€ฆ..

The link takes you to an Outline Approach for diagnosis, usually with a list of many possible causes, and then the key criteria which lead us Clinicians to either favor one as likely, or rule it out. At the end of each Outline, there’s a link to a longer text with more in-depth explanations.

Don’t be alarmed by what may seem a focus on rare but life-threatening diseases. It’s usually easy to rule them out by the general appearance of a patient. But we need to at least think of them, for obvious reasons.

This website is not designed to click a bunch of options and diagnose a disease; no offense to A.I. (artificial intelligence) enthusiasts, but we donโ€™t believe thatโ€™s possible.  Rather, it is a resource requiring N.I. (natural intelligence, a.k.a. your brain) to understand & follow our thoughts.

The overall perspective is that of an out-patient clinician in an office, clinic, urgent care setting, or even an ER (not the in-patient provider for those admitted to a hospital, nor the specialist pursuing rare conditions). It mainly addresses symptoms and diseases of Adults (the author has had no pediatric experience for many years), but in most cases would also apply to children >6-years-old.

Color Key:  Diseases that may be the cause of a specific symptom are in Purple, both in tables and usually in the text.  Diagnostic tests and parameters are usually italicized, sometimes with links.

You might also be interested in a variety of fascinating concepts many people donโ€™t appreciate or understand (including professionals).  See Concepts in our Menu at the top.

This website (still a work in progress) intends to serve several possible purposes:

  • Familiarize readers with the thought process behind medical diagnosis, helping you understand what is going through the mind of your Clinician.
  • Help readers express themselves better when describing their illness to whoever is trying to figure out its cause
  • Encourage readers to begin discussions with their Clinicians, raising possible questions in their minds about what might / might not be the way to proceed with diagnosis

Some websites attempt to make a diagnosis by having you click answers to a series of questions, but they often fall short (without you realizing it!).  So instead, we lay out our logic.

Is that possible?  Haven’t doctors gone through so many years of schooling to learn everything there is?  Well, even if they’ve studied a lot, nobody remembers it all during the 15 minutes we see a patient (far from it).  We clinicians use shortcuts all the time.  Diagnosis123 illustrates those shortcuts, i.e. our basic thought process.

Diagnosis is always the key.  Once we know what’s wrong, we can decide what treatment will or might help.  We’ll know how the disease evolves and plays out.  Never ask for medication without knowing what disease you’ve got.

Do Enjoy!