Turning to Google when we get sick is about as common as getting sick in the first place.
Whether you have a scratchy throat or an unexplained rash, consulting Dr. Google is a common first-step in solving the problem (of course, it shouldn’t end there and you should call your actual doctor, too!). We also turn to Google to learn more about a recent diagnosis.
Medicare Health Plans, a provider of supplemental health insurance, decided to take a look at what medical conditions people most commonly look up online. The result is an interesting glimpse at the health issues people are searching for most frequently in each state.
What’s the most-searched medical condition in your state?
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections (or UTIs) can be pesky and painful, ranging from a burning sensation when urinating to pelvic pain.
But it’s possible those with UTIs living in frigid Alaska are experiencing even worse symptoms due to their cold climate. Japanese researchers in 2013 found that cold weather can exacerbate lower urinary tract symptoms, including the urgency to urinate and nocturia, which is the medical term for waking up frequently throughout the night to use the bathroom. While you may have heard that cranberry juice can prevent and treat UTIs, the science is actually not clear on this. The Cleveland Clinic concludes it can’t hurt, though, and taking cranberry supplements or juice may help some if you struggle with frequent UTIs.
Arizona: Hashimoto’s Disease
Hashimoto’s Disease is also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, which is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. It’s an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system attacks your thyroid. Your thyroid is at the base of your neck, right below the Adam’s apple, and it produces hormones that carry out important functions like regulating your metabolism, muscle development and brain control.
It’s possible so many people are turning to Dr. Google because there’s not much known about why some people develop Hashimoto’s Disease. Public health officials think it might be a combination of genes and an outside trigger, like a virus.
Women who have painful periods or who are having trouble getting pregnant may be searching for information on endometriosis. The condition occurs when the lining of the uterus grows on the outside of the uterus, and it can cause symptoms like painful periods, pain during sex and lower back and pelvis pain. It affects about 11 percent of women nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health.
Endometriosis is most common among women in their 30s and 40s, and it can make it harder to get pregnant. In fact, according to University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, almost 40 percent of women who are having difficulty becoming pregnant have endometriosis.
Sexually transmitted diseases including chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have been on the rise for the last three years in California, reaching a record high in 2017, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The rise in STDs is part of a nationwide trend that experts say is partly linked to fewer people using condoms and having more partners because of dating apps. Syphilis can be treated with antibiotics, and most the time a blood test can confirm the diagnosis, though some healthcare providers can use the fluid from a sore to test for it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While Colorado is No. 26 in the nation for syphilis rates, the rate of primary and secondary syphilis rose from 2.6 per 100,000 in 2011 to 4.6 per 100,000 in 2015, according to the latest profile from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Syphilis can present itself in the primary stage with a single sore or multiple sores that are firm, round and painless, and are in the location where syphilis entered your body. The sores might go unnoticed since they’re painless, according to the CDC, but they go away after about three to six weeks. It’s important to receive treatment even after the sores go away, the CDC notes. Rashes or lesions may show up in the secondary stage. Tertiary syphilis is serious, can occur 10 to 30 years after the infection and can damage internal organs, CDC experts explain.
Connecticut: Quarter-Life Crisis
Quarter-life crisis is certainly an interesting search for those in the Constitution State, because the median age of residents is 40.9, which is among the oldest in the nation (only surpassed by Florida, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine residents). It might seem like a more fitting search in Utah, which has the youngest state population with a median age of 30.7. While not a recognized medical condition, counselors do recognize the struggles of a quarter-life crisis because so much is happening in your mid-to-late 20s surrounding careers and relationships.
District of Columbia: HIV/AIDS
Washington D.C. has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the nation, but the rate of new infections has been decreasing in recent years. About 13,000 people, or 1.9 percent of the city’s population, are living with HIV/AIDs, which is considered an epidemic, according to the Washington Post. (The World Health Organization uses the term “epidemic” when more than 1 percent of a population is living with a disease.)
The city’s efforts over the years, including distributing condoms and a needle-exchange program, are credited with bringing down the rate of HIV/AIDS in the nation’s capital. A staggering report in 2009 had shown that 3 percent of the city’s residents were living with HIV/AIDS, which was a higher rate than in west Africa.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects about one in three Americans. While a lot of people are looking for information about hypertension in Delaware, the state is not among those that rank high for hypertension. Most of the states with high blood pressure rates are clustered in the South, according to The State of Obesity, a report that raises awareness of the obesity epidemic.
Delaware ranks No. 23 in the nation when it comes to high blood pressure, and is tied with Wisconsin. About 30.7 percent of people in Delaware have high blood pressure, which is on par with the national average. Smoking, drinking too much alcohol, eating fast foods or processed foods and being overweight are among the risk factors for hypertension, according to health officials in Delaware.
Miami specifically has been hard hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In fact, in 2016, Miami had the highest new infection rate per capita of any U.S. city, with 47 per 100,000 people being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In an article exploring the public health problem in Florida, the online journal Science points out that Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Jacksonville also made the list of top 10 U.S. cities for new HIV diagnoses. One of the problems is that HIV infections are progressing to AIDS in Florida because many infected people stop taking their antiretroviral drugs, or ARVs. ARVs could also help prevent the spread of HIV, the Science report points out.
This was the second year in a row that syphilis was Georgia’s primary health search. The report’s authors point out that this could make sense because Georgia has one of the highest STD transmission rates per capita in the United States, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. In 2017, the CDC released a snapshot of STDs with state-by-state breakdowns. Georgia ranked No. 4 in the nation for reported syphilis cases, following Louisiana, Nevada and California.
Hawaii: Hashimoto’s Disease
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. It most commonly affects middle-aged women, according to researchers, and its symptoms can include chronic fatigue, difficulty concentrating, constipation, nervousness, irritability and dry hair. Those with Hashimoto’s are oftentimes sensitive to iodine and are advised to steer clear of foods high in it, including kelp, dulse or seaweed.
Idaho: E. Coli
It makes sense that those in Idaho were busy Googling E. coli. The state was hit hard by an E. coli outbreak that was linked to romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, in spring 2018.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 210 people in 36 states became ill from the E. coli outbreak between March 13 and June 6, 2018. About a dozen of those people were from Idaho, and at least two suffered kidney problems and were hospitalized. At the beginning of the outbreak, those in Idaho represented a larger percentage of those affected.
In Illinois, the rate of primary and secondary syphilis increased from 6.8 per 100,000 in 2011 to 8.4 per 100,000 in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Illinois ranks No. 11 in the nation for the rates of primary and secondary syphilis. Syphilis is the most contagious when it’s in the primary and secondary stage, according to the CDC. Illinois health officials point out that syphilis is the only STD for which treatment depends on the stage of the infection.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is the most Googled health condition nationwide, according to the report from Medicare Health Plans. Nine states, including Indiana, searched for the condition more than any other health concern.
Those with ADHD may have trouble paying attention and controlling impulsive behaviors. While it can’t be cured, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains it can be successfully managed, and some symptoms may improve as a child gets older. The number of children affected by ADHD in Indiana has been increasing. In 2007, 9.3 percent of children in Indiana had ADHD, according to parent reports, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows. By 2011, that rate increased to 13 percent, according to the CDC. Indiana ranks No. 4 in the nation with the number of children who have ADHD.
Iowa: Binge Drinking
Binge drinking rates in Iowa are among some of the highest in the country, according to America’s Health Rankings, a report published by the United Health Foundation. For the report, binge drinking was defined as women having four or more drinks during an occasion and men having five or more drinks in one occasion in the past 30 days. Chronic drinking was defined as women having eight or more drinks in a week and men having 15 or more drinks per week. When it comes to high binge-drinking rates, Iowa ranked No. 4 in the nation, behind Wisconsin, North Dakota and Minnesota.
Nearly 13 percent of the adult population in Kansas, which is about 293,860 people, has diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Plus, about 35.5 percent of the adult population in Kansas has prediabetes, which signals higher-than-normal blood glucose levels that aren’t high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. People with diabetes have medical expenses that are about 2.3 times higher than those without the disease, according to the association.
Kentucky: Hepatitis A
Kentucky recently had a large outbreak of Hepatitis A, with public health officials reporting in June 2018 that 969 people in the state had contracted the liver disease. Preventable by vaccines, Hepatitis A is typically transmitted from person-to-person through the fecal-oral route or by consuming contaminated food or water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include fatigue, low appetite levels, stomach pain, nausea and jaundice. It spread in Kentucky mostly due to poor hygiene and sanitation, according to news reports.
Louisiana struggles with some of the highest STD rates in the nation. The state ranked highest for syphilis rates, second in the nation for gonorrhea and chlamydia rates, third in the nation for HIV rates and second for AIDS rates, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2017, one in four people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Louisiana were women, according to the health officials. Black women make up 33 percent of the state’s population but accounted for 76 percent of the new HIV/AIDS diagnoses, showing that black women are disproportionately affected by the epidemic.
News reports of a rabid fox biting a 5-year-old and three others in Maine are surely reason to put residents on edge. Those who are bitten by an animal known or suspected to have rabies need to receive a fast-acting shot or a series of vaccines to prevent a rabies infection. Treatment isn’t effective if a rabies infection takes hold, and the disease is typically fatal.
The number of children with ADHD, according to parental reports, decreased in Maryland from 9.1 percent to 8.9 percent between 2007 and 2011, according to the latest snapshot from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ADHD rate in Maryland is on par with the national average. ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood. Researchers are studying causes and risk factors for ADHD, and current research shows that genetics plays a role.
The number of children with ADHD, according to parental reports, increased in Massachusetts from 8 percent to 8.8 percent between 2007 and 2001, according to the latest snapshot from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of ADHD in Massachusetts is slightly above the national average. It takes several steps to diagnose a child with ADHD, and oftentimes symptoms can be similar to those seen in anxiety, depression, sleep problems and certain types of learning disabilities, according to the CDC. It’s important to have a qualified clinician involved in diagnosing ADHD.
Experts aren’t sure what causes tissue to grow on the outside of your uterus, according to University of Michigan Medicine. But estrogen worsens the condition, and women have high levels of estrogen during their childbearing years, from their teens into their 40s. When menstrual periods stop, and estrogen levels drop during menopause, symptoms typically go away.
To relieve mild pain, swelling and inflammation associated with hemorrhoids, the Mayo Clinic recommends some at-home treatments, including eating more high-fiber foods. Fruits, veggies and whole grains are high in fiber and can soften the stool, which can ease hemorrhoid symptoms. Other recommendations include using over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams, soaking in a warm bath and applying cold compresses to relieve swelling.
Mississippi: Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is a common STD in the United States. The CDC estimates more than one out of every six people between the ages 14 and 49 has genital herpes. Using latex condoms can help prevent the spread of herpes, but not all herpes sores occur in areas that are covered by condoms, so it can still be transmitted even with condom use. Earlier this year, a study found a link between Alzheimer’s disease and herpes.
The number of children with ADHD, according to parental reports, decreased in Missouri from 8.6 percent to 8.4 percent between 2007 and 2011, according to the latest snapshot from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of ADHD in Missouri is slightly below the national average. The CDC recommends a healthy diet with a focus on fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes and lean proteins with nuts and seeds as an effective way to manage ADHD symptoms. Participating in at least an hour of physical activity, limiting screen time and getting recommended amounts of sleep are also among the best practices for managing symptoms.
High blood pressure topped the list of health problems that people in Montana were Googling. But Montana residents fare well when it comes to keeping hypertension in check. About one-quarter of adults in Montana have high blood pressure, according to The State of Obesity, a report that raises awareness of the obesity epidemic. That puts Montana at No. 44 in the nation for high blood pressure rates, tied with New York. Hypertension can cause a myriad of health problems, according to the American Heart Association, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, vision loss and sexual dysfunction.
Dramatic weight loss, denials of feeling hungry, being preoccupied with weight and food, are among some of the potential signs an individual is anorexic, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. A 2015 study published in Nature Neuroscience found that when people with anorexia are making decisions about what to eat, they engage their dorsal striatum, a part of their brain associated with habitual behavior. Understanding this can help psychotherapists better treat anorexia, and it may also link eating disorders with other disorders, such as substance abuse and gambling, that also involve the dorsal striatum.
Nevada: Skin Cancer
Prevalence of melanoma diagnoses increased by 7 percent over a four-year span, according to a May 2018 report from Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
The Health of America Report shows that skin cancer rates in Nevada in 2016 were 3.3 percent, compared to a 4.3 percent national average. States and areas with the highest prevalence of skin cancer were Florida (7.1 percent); Washington, D.C. (5.8 percent); Connecticut (5.6 percent); Maryland (5.3 percent); Rhode Island (5.3 percent); and Vermont (5.3 percent). The data comes from medical claims made to Blue Cross Blue Shield.
New Hampshire: ADHD
The number of children with ADHD, according to parental reports, increased in New Hampshire from 7.2 percent to 10.1 percent between 2007 and 2011, according to the latest snapshot from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ADHD rate in New Hampshire is above the national average of 8.8 percent and the state ranks 16th highest for ADHD. ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood. A July 2018 study from the University of California found that therapy dogs could be useful in helping to reduce ADHD symptoms in children.
New Jersey: Breast Cancer
New Jersey consistently ranks in the top 10 states in the nation for breast cancer incidence and mortality, according to the state’s public health department. Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among New Jersey women and the second leading cause of cancer death. More than 20 years ago, the state developed a New Jersey Breast Cancer Research Fund that citizens can donate to on their state income tax returns.
New Mexico: PTSD
In New Mexico, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is the top medical condition being treated with medical marijuana, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. PTSD can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. About 7 to 8 percent of the U.S. population will have PTSD at some point in their life, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. PTSD rates are higher in women, though. About 10 out of every 100 women will develop PTSD and about 4 out of every 100 men will develop it.
New York: Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is among the most common cancers among women in New York State, with 15,000 women being diagnosed every year and almost 2,600 women dying from the disease, according to the state’s health department. It’s estimated one in eight women will develop breast cancer during her life. While rare, men can also get breast cancer. About 150 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in New York each year. While family history and genetics play a role in breast cancer, medical professionals say risk can be reduced by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising and not smoking.
North Carolina: ADHD
The number of children with ADHD, according to parental reports, decreased in North Carolina from 12.8 percent to 11.6 percent between 2007 and 2011, according to the latest snapshot from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The ADHD rate in North Carolina is above the national average of 8.8 percent. ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood. Another study, though, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, estimated that 12 percent of children had ADHD in 2011, an increase of 43 percent since 2003. The researchers noted that the prevalence of girls diagnosed with ADHD saw the sharpest increase during this time period.
North Dakota: Ear Infection
While cold weather in North Dakota isn’t causing ear infections, it can make the painful symptoms worse. An ear infection is most often a bacterial or viral infection that affects the middle ear. Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections. Since little ones can’t always voice what’s causing their pain or discomfort, parents can be on the lookout for signs like tugging or pulling at the ear, loss of balance and difficulty hearing, in addition to being more irritable and crying more than usual, according to the Mayo Clinic. And, as a reminder, you should avoid putting Q-tips in your ear as it can lead to ear pain and infections.
Possibly driving up the search of syphilis among Ohio residents was an outbreak in Columbus a few years ago that prompted health officials to warn sexually active residents to get tested. According to a snapshot from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ohio ranks No. 25 in the nation for syphilis outbreaks. The incidence rate for primary and secondary syphilis (earlier-stage syphilis) increased from 3.8 per 100,000 in 2011 to 4.8 per 100,000 in 2015, according to the CDC.
About 14 percent of the adult population in Oklahoma has diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. On top of that, about 37 percent of adults in the state have prediabetes, which means blood glucose levels are elevated, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Diabetes in Oklahoma may be of special concern because the state saw the highest increase from 1995 to 2010, with the number of people with diabetes increasing 226.7 percent, outpacing the median increase of 82.2 percent, according to news reports.
Oregon Health Authority has a public “End HIV” campaign, and among the goals is to get all residents tested for HIV. As of now, six out of 10 people in the state have never been tested. Knowing one’s status is important because studies have shown that people who know they are HIV positive can begin medication to protect their health and lessen the likelihood of passing the virus to others. New HIV cases in Oregon decreased from 224 to 193 between 2016 and 2017, according to state public health officials, although reports are still being processed, so the latest figures may fluctuate. During a 10-year snapshot of new HIV cases in the state, infection rates peaked in 2003 and 2008.
Beaver County in Pennsylvania is among the areas singled out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with an unusual rise in the prevalence of STDs, with a 12.5 percent increase in early syphilis, the most infectious stage of the disease, as well as a 35 percent increase in reported gonorrhea. HIV cases also increased from 4 to 11 in the county during the same time period. Allegheny County also saw a large spike in syphilis cases, increasing from 90 percent between 2004 and 2015, outpacing the national increase of 19 percent.
Rhode Island: Lupus
Several unknowns surround lupus, including what exactly causes it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, there are several treatments available. Lupus occurs when an unknown trigger causes a person’s immune system to attack their skin, joints and organs. Researchers believe it’s a combination of hormones, genetics and environmental triggers that causes lupus, according to the National Resource Center on Lupus. The resource center estimates 1.5 million Americans are affected, and it’s two to three times more prevalent among women of color. Symptoms can include pain, extreme fatigue, hair loss and cognitive issues.
South Carolina: Endometriosis
Endometriosis happens when the lining of the uterus grows on the outside of the uterus, and it can cause symptoms like painful periods, pain during sex and lower back and pelvis pain. Slim women are at a greater risk of developing endometriosis than those who are obese, according to a study published in Human Reproduction in 2013. Aside from causing difficulty getting pregnant and painful periods, epidemiological studies have shown an increased cancer risk among women with endometriosis — especially for ovarian cancer.
South Dakota: Insomnia
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, and when it’s left untreated, it can increase your risk factor for developing other illnesses like depression, diabetes and high blood pressure, according to the National Sleep Foundation. While a quarter of the population has sleeping problems, according to the foundation, about six to 10 percent have insomnia, which makes it extremely difficult to fall or stay asleep and can prevent people from getting restorative sleep. Research has also shown that insomnia may be in your genes.
Tennessee: Strep Throat
Strep throat could have seen an uptick in searches after the illnesses was going around middle Tennessee earlier this year, according to news reports. Strep throat is a bacterial infection that, in addition to causing a sore throat, may cause pain when swallowing, a fever of 101 degrees or higher, red and swollen tonsils, tiny red spots on the roof of the mouth and swollen lymph nodes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Washing your hands and not sharing drinking glasses or eating utensils can prevent the spread of strep, according to the CDC.
The number of children with ADHD, according to parental reports, increased in Texas from 4.2 percent to 9 percent between 2007 and 2001, according to the latest snapshot from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of ADHD in Texas is slightly above the national average of 8.8 percent. While ADHD is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder in childhood, and it’s known that it can continue into adulthood, some research suggests that for some people the disorder doesn’t emerge until after childhood.
Utah: Hashimoto’s Disease
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, and the autoimmune disorder is likely caused by a combination of genes and an outside trigger, like a virus, according to public health officials. Hashimoto’s is more common in women, and most often appears between ages 40 and 60, the Office on Women’s Health says. Risk of getting Hashimoto’s is higher if you have another autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, type 1 diabetes or lupus. Also, it often runs in families.
Vermont: Opioid Use Disorder
Vermont has one of the highest rates of opioid deaths in the United States, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics. The state was also among those that saw a significant increase in drug overdose deaths between 2015 and 2016, with an increase of nearly 33 percent, the CDC statistics show. In 2016, 101 people in Vermont died of opioid-related overdoses, which is a rate of 18.4 deaths per 100,000 people in the state — more than the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons due to opioid overdoses.
The number of children with ADHD, according to parental reports, decreased in Virginia from 8.2 percent to 9.1 percent between 2007 and 2011, according to the latest snapshot from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ADHD rate in Virginia is slightly above the national average of 8.8 percent. ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood. Mindfulness meditation and yoga, among other treatments, can help children manage ADHD symptoms.
Washington: Body Dysmorphia
While it’s common for people to dislike something about their bodies, whether that’s a crooked nose or too small of eyes, people with body dysmorphia think about their real or perceived flaws for hours every day and have trouble controlling their negative thoughts, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. About one in 50 people suffer from body dysmorphia. Research shows it develops in adolescence and affects males and females almost equally. Cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants are among the treatments.
West Virginia: Porn Addiction
Psychologists debate whether pornography addiction actually constitutes an addiction. Regardless, a study published in the Journal of Sex Addiction points out that research has suggested religious individuals are more likely to perceive themselves as addicted to porn, regardless of how often they are actually watching it. Researchers in the study found that the perceived addiction to porn, whether it was real or not, put a strain on relationships.
The number of children with ADHD, according to parental reports, increased in Wisconsin from 7.6 percent to 10.4 percent between 2007 and 2011, according to the latest snapshot from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ADHD rate in Wisconsin is higher than the national average of 8.8 percent. ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood. You may have wondered if fidget spinners can help children with anxiety and ADHD, as the toys have been marketed that way. According to professionals, though, there’s no actual research to back up the claims that fidget spinners are all that helpful.
Seasonal flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu season tends to begin in October, peaking between December and February and lasting as late as May. We’re guessing people in Wyoming aren’t the only ones who want to dodge the flu. Here are some secrets of people who never get sick.