When and how should I use the Isabel Symptom Checker?

When and how should Isabel be used?

Doctors have a vast amount of knowledge to help them, but you are still the person who knows most about you symptoms, and our aim is to make you feel empowered to make suggestions and arrive at a diagnosis together with your doctor. Here are some tips that can help you through the process.

When in doubt

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Often diagnoses are missed because they are either rare, the doctor did not have all the information, or it was simply not thought of. We all too often accept the first diagnosis we are given without questioning it, even if we doubt it is the correct one, and this is the perfect time to use Isabel.

Entering all your symptoms into the Symptom Checker will allow you to research all the likely diagnoses in your own time, find the one that best fits with your symptoms, and then discuss this with your doctor.

Using Isabel should enable you to say:

"Doctor, I know you think that I have a disease X but could you please
explain why you don't think it could be disease Y or Z which have been
suggested by Isabel and match the symptoms I am experiencing?"

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How should Isabel be used?

Isabel, like any symptom checker, will not be able to tell you what your exact diagnosis is. What it can do is suggest some likely diagnoses based on the symptoms you have entered.

Enter your symptoms in natural language

If you have already seen your doctor about your symptoms, he or she may have told you what the medical terminology is or described them more precisely. If you do not have this, then simply try your best to describe the symptoms that are affecting you.

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Start with the most important symptoms

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Try to enter the most important and initial symptoms first. You can look at the results, then add others after. This helps you to refine your list of diagnoses without distorting it with symptoms that may not be as relevant.

Don't be alarmed

When you first see the results you may well be overwhelmed or alarmed, but it is important to remember that Isabel's list of suggestions are just diagnostic possibilities. It is the job of your doctor to work with you to decide which of the diagnoses are most likely.

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How long have you felt unwell?

The common symptoms of cancer are also those of many less serious illnesses which is why cancers will often appear in the list and this can be alarming. The key indicator is how long you have had the symptom for and whether it is getting better or worse. If you have had the symptom for more than 3 or 4 weeks, you should be talking to your doctor.

Knowledge is power

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Each diagnosis is linked to various knowledge sources such as the Merck Manual, Medline Plus, Wikipedia, NHS Choices etc. You should read up on each diagnosis to see how well your symptoms fit and then decide whether to discuss the diagnosis with your doctor.

 

Where to now?

Triage Score

If you feel you should see a health care professional, use the 'Where to now?' to help you decide whether to go to your local walk-in clinic, family doctor or straight to the Emergency Department. 'Where to now?' assigns a score to the list of diagnoses and your answers to 7 important questions to come up with a combined score on a dial which advises where to seek care.

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Download

Download our guide

We've put together a handy guide to help you with your diagnosis. It covers everything from when and how to use the Isabel Symptom Checker, to talking to your doctor.

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Try it out

Ready to enter your symptoms and start researching the possibilities that come up? Simply click the button below to use the Symptom Checker

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Still have questions?

We have an extensive frequently asked questions section which should help answer any queries you still have about Isabel Symptom Checker.

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