DIY health on the rise.
COMPUTERS and smartphones are changing the way we live.
With some of the health and fitness apps and blogs easily accessible, that change may be for the better.
Young adults are much more likely than older people to have a smartphone and use it to look for health information and advice, according to a recent survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
You can tell the ages of computer users by which platform they use, it seems. According to Pew, three of the top five symptoms searched for on Yahoo Mobile in January were pregnancy, herpes and HIV.
But none of these showed up among the top searches on desktop computers, which are more likely to be used by older people.
The most popular searches on PCS included gastroenteritis, heart attacks, gout and shingles.
Younger, mobile- device users frequently downloaded apps to manage their diet, drinking and exercise and that’s on the rise – the number has increased fivefold in the past two years, according to Everyday Health statistics.
We have long been warned not to trust ‘‘ Doctor Google’’, with reports that four in five Australians turn to the web for health information, and nearly half of those are using the net for self- diagnosis.
Treating minor health issues is less serious, but putting off seeing a doctor due to online research can be dangerous, the Australian Medical Association warns. It’s not just patients, however. A survey last year by Wolters Kluwer Health showed that 46 per cent of American doctors frequently use search engines like Google and Yahoo for treating, diagnosing or caring for their patients, and 42 per cent frequently source their information from online health sites like the Mayo Clinic and WEBMD. For ailing web searchers at home, ‘‘ Cyberchondria’’ can be a terrifying
situation that may indeed make one feel off- colour.
Seeking preventative health advice online is a safer option. With the growth of health, fitness and diet apps and blogs online, it is easier than ever to improve your lifestyle from the comfort of the couch.