Google it — and Google we did. On the eve of 2019, CNN reported that “Dr. Google” spat out more information on health-related questions regarding a fad diet and ALS, more than any other ailment in 2018.
Along with other health concerns — including endometriosis, the flu, how long marijuana stays in the system, implantation bleeding, heartburn and high blood pressure — the ketogenic diet and ALS were the top two health-related searches.
Keto, the high-fat low-carb diet, may be proven to shed weight, but it is not a way of life, according to nutritionist Lisa Drayer. “It doesn’t teach you how to acquire healthy eating habits,” Drayer said. “It’s good for a quick fix, but most people I know can hardly give up pasta and bread, let alone beans and fruit,” she said.
Whether or not the death of world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking in March 2018 death contributed to the spike in searches about ALS — also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease — is unknown, just like ALS itself, of which “little is known about the causes of the disease, and there is no cure,” reported CNN.
Lupus topped the list in 2017 as the top searched disease, along with mental illness, both of which have a direct link to singer Selena Gomez. As the producer of “13 Reasons Why,” a Netflix series dealing with mental health and suicide and as a lupus sufferer herself, Gomez brought her creative direction and health concerns to masses, especially since the Netflix series reportedly sparked an interest in suicide ideology.
Unlike the last year, opioid addiction did not dominate the search engine questions as it did in 2017 after it was declared a national public health emergency by President Donald Trump. However, three health related questions that did remain the same in 2017 and 2018 concerned the flu, blood pressure and lethargy.
Speaking of the flu, Marie Claire magazine points out that Googling the illness can literally leave you feeling worse than when you clicked search. “We’ve all typed in flu symptoms only to have the internet suggest that it’s anything from pregnancy to ebola,” reports the magazine. “Which, unsurprisingly, leaves you feeling anxious, upset and confused.”
The reason why “a whopping 1 in 4 people,” Google their illnesses, according to Marie Claire magazine, is because of doctor availability and work schedule conflicts; however, that is still no excuse for not “being seen by a trained professional, rather than, well y’know, your own imagination and a bunch of random web searches.”
Only time will tell what Dr. Google, who tracks health-related questions annually from January to mid-December, will report the top 2019 health concerns are, so until then, maybe go to the doctor rather than the search engine for the answer to what ails you.