Brits consulted ‘Dr. Google’ nearly 50million times in the past 12 months, according to new research by mutual healthcare provider, Benenden Health.
The data reveals that health concerns related to heart and blood conditions, such as diabetes, are amongst the nation’s top health concerns, followed closely by issues related to digestion, with diarrhoea and IBS both appearing in the top searched list.
The top 10 health concerns of the UK according to Google search:
(Rank Topic Total Searches Avg. monthly UK searches, Google search volumes obtained using Google Keyword Planner (November 2021 – October 2022) )
1 Diabetes 3,078,000 256,500
2 Diarrhoea 3,007,000 246,000
3 Endometriosis 2,701,000 201,000
4 Pneumonia 2,215,000 184,583
5 Anxiety 1,642,500 135,000
6 IBS 2,370,500 197,542
7 Menopause 2,057,000 171,458
8 Schizophrenia 1,331,000 110,000
9 Arthritis 1,056,000 90,500
10 Depression 1,195,000 90,500
Up to 400 unique search queries related to 27 of the UK’s most common health problems were analysed for the research. The topics were split into seven categories, analysing the top three issues in each:
- Digestion: Diarrhoea, IBS, Constipation
- Heart & Blood: Heart Attack, Stroke, Diabetes
- Respiratory: Cold & Flu, Asthma, Bronchitis/Pneumonia
- Mental Health: Depression, Anxiety, Schizophrenia
- Sexual Health: Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis
- Eating Disorders: Bulimia, Anorexia, Body Dysmorphia
- Women’s Health: Menopause, Thrush, Endometriosis
- Old Age: Dementia, Arthritis, Osteoporosis
Anxiety, schizophrenia and depression were all named in the top 10 most Googled health concerns for the UK population, with almost five million searches for the terms in the last 12 months. The remaining top searches were largely made up of concerns related to women’s health, such as endometriosis and the menopause.
For the purposes of the research, Cancer was not included in the final analysis due to there being a large variance in different cancerous strains. To have included Cancer would have impacted the results in other categories and not shown a true picture.
Having conducted the research by analysing more than 400 unique health-related phrases and questions, Benenden Health is raising concern that people in the UK are turning to Dr. Google too often for self-diagnosis, rather than speaking to a pharmacist or GP.
Cheryl Lythgoe, Matron at Benenden Health, said, “It’s of little surprise to see that physical health is leading the way as one of the most search for health terms, as throughout the COVID-19 pandemic many people have become more conscious of their health. What’s concerning is the apparent reliance on Google for this information, possibly leading to an incorrect self-diagnosis or panic.
“When there’s a long wait for doctor’s appointments it’s easy to get impatient and the ability to self-diagnose via the internet can for some be too tempting. If you are looking for advice online, I would recommend visiting trusted sources such as the NHS website as a first port of call to ensure the advice is from experts and more likely to be accurate. However at the first signs of illness, it’s always best to consult a pharmacist or a GP. This will ensure the correct treatment, if necessary, is sought.”
If you have health concerns and are looking for professional support, GP helplines like Benenden Health’s GP 24/7 GP helpline provide convenient, on-the-go access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Benenden Health is a not-for-profit organisation, founded in 1905 with the purpose of people joining together to help pay for medical care. It is one of the UK’s longest serving and most respected mutual healthcare societies, offering an affordable alternative to health insurance. With a Benenden Health membership, individuals can join 840,000+ other members who are already checking in with their health, with access to a GP 24/7, getting back on their feet with Physiotherapy, and taking the time to have that much needed conversation with a dedicated 24/7 Mental Health Helpline.