Commonly Googled Health Questions Answered By Doctors
By: Fatema Diwan
Published On: June 01, 2018
We are all guilty of relying on Dr. Google for answers to our health questions. Be it innocent ones like, how long does a common cold last? to more fatal ones like, is my headache a symptom of cancer?
While Google is a good source to understand health issues and diseases, it’s probably not a great idea to self-diagnose based on Google results. As this blog suggests, almost 47% people searching for illnesses on Google are convinced that they have cancer.
Not all of them, of course, have cancer and yet the panic sets in for those who take Google search to be the last word on all health problems. Many even go a step ahead, to look for a cure online.
All health advice on the internet may not be sound or even useful, as this blog points out, therefore consulting a doctor is always a necessary next step. However, we do know that you will not stop Googling your questions and thus, we’ve tried to answer some commonly asked questions on Google with the help of actual doctors.
P. S - Though these are expert answers, they are not definitive either. Nothing can beat a direct consultation with your doctor.
1) What is a normal sugar level?
India is the Diabetes Capital of the World with a registered 72 million cases. If you are taking a diabetes test at home, you should be taking it at least 4 times a day to verify the results. If not, at least twice - once before your meal (on an empty stomach) and once after your meal (keep a gap of an hour)
Our Doctors Say: Normal blood sugar levels are:
Fasting (Pre-lunch): 70-100mg/dl
Post lunch: Below 140mg/dl
2) What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure has proven to be fatal for over 1.6 million Indians according to this 2016 report. Even children are not immune to it and thus regulating and checking your blood pressure regularly is recommended.
Our Doctors Say: The ideal BP level should be between 120/80 - 140/90. Anything above 140/90 is termed as high blood pressure.
3) What are the best ways to lower your blood pressure?
Adopting a healthier lifestyle obviously, is key to maintaining normal blood pressure. Remember age is no bar when it comes to high blood pressure, so even if you are young make sure you make certain lifestyle changes to prevent high blood pressure problems.
Our Doctors suggest some tips to lower your blood pressure:
- Reduce weight
- Reduce salt intake
- Make daily exercise a part of your routine
- Exercise at least for 45 minutes for 3 days in a week
- Reduce stress (Avoid stressful situations and people that cause stress) or learn to adapt healthily to them. Here are some tips.
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Go on vacations and spend more time with your family
- Yoga can help too
4) What are some ways to prevent diabetes?
Though diabetes can be genetic, certain life choices can prevent its onset. Our doctors would advise you to first find out your risks by visiting your family’s medical history or getting in touch with a doctor. But, whether you are at risk or not, here are some things you can and you should do to avoid diabetes.
Our Doctors say:
- Reduce weight - Overweight people are more likely to get diabetes. Even a 5% reduction in weight can prevent its onset.
- Avoid fried foods, carbs, sodas and soft drinks
- Exercise daily
- Have a low-carb, high-protein diet
5) What are the symptoms of cancer?
We understand cancer is becoming an increasingly common problem, but it isn’t a wise idea to associate every little symptom with cancer. In all probability, your headache is NOT a cancer symptom.
Our Doctors say:
Symptoms of cancer are very vague at times and at times very specific. It all depends on the type of cancer or organ involved like liver, kidney, lungs or breast. Each kind of cancer will induce different kinds of symptoms.
Usual symptoms are
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Weakness or fatigue
- Bleeding from stools or in urine
- Enlarged lump which seems to be growing in size.
When in doubt please visit a doctor instead of treating yourself on Google.
6) What are some visible signs of someone having a heart attack?
50% of all heart attacks in India occur under the age of 50 and 25% occur under the age of 40. Owing to our sedentary lifestyle and messed-up eating habits, heart attacks have become common even amongst youngsters today. Here’s how to find out if someone or you are having a heart attack:
Our Doctors say:
A few visible signs of someone having a heart attack are:
- Acute chest pain with sweating or nausea
- Pain going to the back or towards the left arm
- Patients have often described the chest pain as if a huge stone has been placed on the chest
- Profuse sweating with uneasiness
7) What are some common symptoms of breast cancer?
Breast cancer numbers in India are shocking. Breast cancer is said to have claimed 70,000 lives in 2012 and the survival rate has not gotten better so far.
Our Doctors say:
Some common symptoms to be aware of are
- A palpable lump noticed during self-examination
- Nipple discharge
- Bloodstains near the nipple
Breast cancer examinations can be easily taken at home. Follow this quick guide.
The above article was written with inputs from the following doctors:
Dr. Biswanath Gouda - Laparoscopic surgeon
Dr. Sunil Chavan - General Physician
Dr Manmohan Kamat - Cancer Surgeon
Dr Rajeev Naik - Neurosurgeon