(CBS4) – Who is the most popular doctor in America? Why, “Dr. Google” of course.
In 2019, more than 93 million of us turned to the good doctor for medical advice and information.
So, what did we want to know?
This week, Google shared the ten health questions people searched for the most from January 2019 to early December 2019.
- How To Lower Blood Pressure? is tops on the list. Not surprising considering hypertension is one of the most common, and increasing, health conditions in our country —with more and more people under age 40 being affected. The recipe for this condition hasn’t really changed over the year— it’s weight loss, exercise, less salt, and working on cutting back on stress. Some people, though, can do all of the “right” things and still have high numbers— in other words, its genetic or something unknown. A normal blood pressure is under 130/80.
- What Is Keto? comes in second. Although its popularity seems to be waning, a lot of people still want to try this diet to drop some pounds. Unfortunately, with its high fat content, Keto is considered one of the unhealthiest ways lose weight
- How Do I Get Rid Of Hiccups? Kind of makes sense. Hiccups are a common condition, but not something you typically run to the doctor about. Hiccups are causes by irritation of your diaphragm, which twitches and causes air to pop up out of your throat. Triggers include overeating, alcohol, anxiety, a medication side effect, but in most cases, the causes are unknown. So are surefire cures. If hiccups don’t go away on their own or keep coming back, you should see your doctor.
- How Long Does The Flu Last? Days to weeks. Actually, after a week, it’s usually a complication of the flu such as bronchitis that lasts for weeks. Even with complications, it can take 3-4 weeks to bounce back from influenza. BTW, flu is usually contagious for as long as you have a fever, or about seven days.
- What causes Hiccups? See #3.
- What Causes Kidney Stones? Sometimes it’s genetic or something in your metabolism, but too much alcohol, poor diet, and not enough water can be triggers.
- What Is HPV? Human papilloma virus, a transmittable disease that can lead to cancer, typically of the cervix or mouth/throat.
- How To Lower Cholesterol? Diet, exercise, weight loss, and in come cases, medication.
- How Many Calories Should I Eat In A Day? This one varies by age, body type, and activity.
- How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your System? You may think one drink= one hour, but alcohol and the effects of alcohol can stay in your system for up to 24 hours.
Now comes the tricky part. Dr. Google can be a fine source of health care information, but you still need to be careful you’re not referred to a quack. Avoid sites that want personal information, want to sell you something, or offers a “magic” remedy. And by all means, EXTREME “black box warnings” about going to a chat room, or a social media group for info or advice.
Here are a few of my favorite health sites for patients:
nationaljewish.org/health-insights (Especially good for asthma and other respiratory conditions.)
There are many, many more great sites. Ask your doctor for a recommendation. A “nurse line” is an added resource for advice.
And don’t forget, when it comes to Dr. Google, a second opinion is always a good idea.