It’s not uncommon nowadays to find doctors front and center on your television. The latest fad in TV viewing is programming where a doctor, or panel of doctors, educate viewers on how to live a healthy lifestyle. You’ve seen these programs before and they appear as part of a bigger show, like the Today Show, that you trust. In other cases they appear on a network you trust, such as CNN or the BBC. The question is: can you really trust them?

No one will ever dispute the education of these physicians, or the rest of their sterling resume. Still, it is not uncommon to question if the advice you are receiving is the right advice for you. You aren’t opposed to listening to a good piece of advice but are nervous to take the wrong advice.

The most important thing to understand about these doctor shows is that they are giving, in most cases, general medical advice. They understand that their viewership includes a wide spectrum of people with a wide array of health problems and lifestyle choices. They understand that giving advice that is only specific to a couple of their viewers hurts the viewing value of their show. The advice they give most often is very vanilla and not meant to interfere with anyone’s current therapy.

You must also note that while this show is a general information and education show, it is never to take the place of your own personal physician. No doctor on TV, no matter how educated, knows you or your family history the way a primary care physician does. When it comes to what you are hearing on TV versus what your doctor is telling you, it is always best to go with your own doctor. If you have questions about the therapy they are recommending, then voice those concerns and have a productive dialogue about it.

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