Many of us use Google to look up health information. Even doctors google. I often use the search engine to show my patients for example images of anatomy or skin problems. As more people become tech-savvy and websites get better, I expect that Dr Google will be even more popular in the near future.
A study published in the Australian Family Physician in 2014 found that 63 percent of patients accessed the internet in the previous month; 28 percent had sought health information online; and 17 percent had obtained information related to problems addressed during a GP visit.
The challenge is of course to find reliable information. To help you pick the right sources here’s a list of trustworthy websites containing useful general information about common health problems. These sites often show up in search results.
It is recommended to check with your GP or specialist that the information is applicable to you. Your doctor may be able to recommend some good resources too.
General health problems
- Diabetes Australia at www.diabetesaustralia.com.au
- The Cancer Council of Australia at www.cancer.org.au
Heart problems & cardiovascular risk
- National Heart Foundation of Australia at www.heartfoundation.com.au
- Australian Cardiovascular Risk Calculator at www.cvdcheck.org.au
- National Asthma Council of Australia at www.nationalasthma.org.au
Alcohol & drugs
- National drugs campaign at www.drugs.health.gov.au
- Alcohol and your health at alcoholthinkagain.com.au
Sexual transmitted diseases
Sexual transmitted diseases at www.sti.health.gov.au
- Alzheimer’s Australia at www.alzheimers.org.au
- Continence Foundation of Australia at www.continence.org.au
Of course this is only a basic list of Australian websites. There are many other Australian and international sites with disease specific information. If you know of a particular good source, please feel free to mention it in the comments section below.
One word of warning: Information on the web is sometimes outdated or incomplete. But occasionally it is deliberately incorrect or manipulated, for example to make you buy something. To help you differentiate the good from the bad, have a look at this post: 6 warning signs that online health information may be unreliable.