What do American’s care about when it comes to health? Look no further than Google. In 2006, there were 6 billion Google searches. Fast forward to 2016, and Google reported 2 trillion searches in that year alone. The number simply multiplies each year.
Google says that 5% of all searches are related to health care. If you do the math that means at least 100 billion searches were for health-related issues using 2016 figures. That’s 273 million searches for health-care related issues a day. The current figure is clearly much higher and that’s before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The jury is still out as to what the most searched term in 2020 will be. But if you place your bet on COVID-19 or anything viral related, you will probably be a winner. During the pandemic, COVID-19 was the most searched term in North Carolina and many other states. Social distancing, nonessential, furlough, disinfectant, SARS, quarantining and even stir-crazy were the top searches in other states.
Those are real-time searches. Whatever the news of the day seems to be will top the list. Then there are health-related searches that are more consistent that don’t parallel the news cycle.
Last year the question of how to lower blood pressure topped the health-related search list. About 1 in 3 Americans have high blood pressure. That’s around 75 million people. It’s no mystery this question is a common health concern that many ask Dr. Google about. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only about 54% of those with high blood pressure have it under control.
Genetics play a large part in our susceptibility to having high blood pressure. But eating a healthy diet with less sodium, losing weight, alleviating stress and getting proper exercise are ways to help lower blood pressure without medication. Medication is often needed however and if your current medication is causing side effects, there are other options that your doctor can prescribe. The benefits of controlling blood pressure are that it reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Keto diet was the previous top health-related search term. Last year it dropped to No. 2 in the rankings. With moderate proteins and low carbohydrates, the diet pushes the body into ketosis that helps break down stored body fat. The diet has risen in popularity, but there have been concerns regarding the balance of nutrients it provides and its sustainability.
With weight issues as a leading risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, it is no wonder many search for answers. Weight loss can be a complex health problem. It is more complex than to simply eat less and exercise more. Lower on the search list is how many calories should someone eat in a day and the answer reveals why the topic is complex.
As a general rule, women need about 2,000 calories to maintain weight and 1,500 calories per day to lose one pound per week. Men typically need 2,500 calories to maintain and will lose a pound a week at 2,000 calories a day.
But the exceptions to this rule are broad. All of this depends on age, current weight, height, activity level, other medical conditions, genetics and metabolic rates. It’s easy to find exceptions to the general rule where one person may lose weight with 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day where another person gains weight with the same caloric intake.
Here’s the full list of exact questions that topped last year’s list:
— How to lower blood pressure.
— What is keto?
— How to get rid of hiccups.
— How long does the flu last?
— What causes hiccups?
— What causes kidney stones?
— What is HPV?
— How to lower cholesterol.
— How many calories should I eat a day?
— How long does alcohol stay in your system?
Our guess is COVID-19 will top 2020’s list. After getting general answers from Google, patients are always encouraged to see their medical professional for specific solutions to their concerns and personal needs.
Phillip Stephens, DHSc, PA-C is affiliated with Carolina Acute Care & Wellness Center, P.A.