o figure out if a headache or a stomach twinge is something insidious, millions of people head to a search engine first.
More than a third of all American adults have gone online to find a diagnosis, according to a 2013 Pew survey, and half of those people wound up discussing what they found with their health care provider.
Looking for a digital diagnosis can either increase or alleviate concerns about a possible illness, according to Microsoft researchers. And there’s even a word that’s cropped up — “cyberchondria” — to describe what happens when searching for medical information starts to become a condition unto itself.
So, what do the data say about our health anxieties — real or imagined?
Here are the top 20 conditions that people in the U.S. searched for on Google in early May, according to the company. Only English search results are included.
Google declined to rank the conditions, so we did it ourselves using Google Trends to compare the average search interest for each condition in that timeframe, indexed to “doctor.”