A Patient’s Guide To The World Wide Web

These days people have all the information they need, specially medical information, at their fingertips because of the advent of the internet and search engines. These days, no patient has to go to a doctor for a consultation blindly. The internet has given them the opportunity to read up on their symptoms, choose the kind of medical doctor they want to see, and prepare a list of questions about their illness based upon the results of their web search. That is what a web search engine is for after all. According to Grossman (2010), “A search engine makes it possible to find a specific bit of information in the huge mass of data stored on the web. ”

These searches can be done using either of the following web search sites. Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft Bing. Google is the foremost search engine in use today because of their popularity among internet users and the degree of accuracy in their web results. While Yahoo and Bing trail Google because users shy away from using their services due to constant paid advertising appearing in their search results. Thus causing the researcher to question the accuracy of their web results.

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Web results show the user a list of website, all with a different dot name ending. During the early days of the internet, the.com name was the most used site name ending because it signified that it was a commercial business offering information. But later on, charitable organizations also began to get online, so the.org name was developed to differentiate between the two. When colleges and universities decided to begin putting their information into web space, the.edu name came into being for obvious reasons. While.net was reserved for technology based websites on the web.

Most recently, wiki’s began to enter our web searches as an “encyclopedia” of information on the web. It was a nice idea to begin with. However, due to the fact that these sorts of websites have “edit” buttons which can be used by anybody to alter or add information regarding any topic online, the accuracy of this website as a source of verified and reputable information has come into question. Most experts in the field of education and medicine do not recommend that people take the information found on such websites seriously as a part of their research.

Researchers have also begun to notice that some website masquarade as reputable websites only to end up selling their product or other products to their readers. These kinds of websites have and end game in mind (the sale) which makes their information and other site content suspect. The more advertising there is on a website, the more one should be suspicious of the information contained within.

Keeping the above information in mind, a caretaker is expcted to be able to perform an accurate and informative web search on the topic of G.E.R.D. or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. This manual has been put together in order to help the caretaker get on the right path towards helping the patient recover from what can often be a painful and debilitating illness.

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G.E.R.D. is defined by the Mayo Clinic (2011) as; “… a chronic digestive disease that occurs when stomach acid or, occasionally, bile flows back (refluxes) into your food pipe (esophagus). The backwash of acid irritates the lining of your esophagus and causes GERD signs and symptoms. ”

The symptoms of the illness can include any or all of the following (Mayo Clinic, 2011)

A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), sometimes spreading to the throat, along with a sour taste in your mouth:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Dry cough
  • Hoarseness or sore throat
  • Regurgitation of food or sour liquid (acid reflux)
  • Sensation of a lump in the throat

A bout of G.E.R.D. can be physically draining and painful for the patient. Which is why preventing attacks of the symptoms is always the best thing to do. This can be done according to Zieve (2011) of the National Center For Biotechnology Information by avoiding the following triggers:

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  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomato sauces
  • Spicy or fatty foods
  • Full-fat dairy products
  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint

It is highly recommended that caregivers with G.E.R.D. patients learn everything that they can about the illness and how to control it using medication and various lifestyle changes. More information about G.E.R.D. and how to care for a G.E.R.D. patient may be read about at The Mayo Clinic. Do not use WebMD (2011) as a source of basic information. The site lists too many related and unrelated illnesses alongside targeted advertising which put the information into doubt and confuse the reader. Examples of this targeted advertising from WebMD (2011) include links and references to heartburn medication and quick fixes for GERD and Heartburn.

References

Grossman, W. (2010). What Is A Search Engine?. Web.

Mayo Clinic. (2010). GERD: Definition. Web.

WebMD. (2011). Heartburn/GERD Guide. Web.

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Zieve, D. (2011). Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Web.

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