5 Ways to Get The Best Thyroid and Health Information

Using the Internet and Smart Phones To Be An Informed Patient

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Thyroid patients can use computers or smartphones to get information and apps to stay informed. Freedigitalphotos.net

Americans are headed to the Internet, and using our smartphones and tablets to find and track health and medical information at ever increasing rates.

According to findings from the Pew Internet Research Project, around three in four Americans have used the Internet to search for health information, and more than half the population has used the web to look up information about specific medical conditions (including thyroid disease.)

According to the Pew project: "52% of smartphone owners have used their phone to look up health or medical information." And, "19% of smartphone owners have downloaded an app specifically to track or manage health."

If you are one of the many consumers using your computer, tablet or smartphone to access the Internet for health and thyroid information, here are five tips for getting the best help.

1. Access Conventional Medical Information

When you are looking for information, the most conservative approach --- recommended by many medical authorities and government agencies -- is to research primarily at government-run sites and medical centers. Keep in mind that this means that you will typically get mainstream, allopathic information -- not information regarding integrative, holistic, or complementary approaches -- using that method.

For this mainstream medical information, you can get help evaluating the reliability of the information you're researching using the following government guidelines:

2. Learn About Integrative/Complementary Medicine and Supplements

The government actually has some helpful guidelines if you are interested in integrative, holistic or complementary health information, including:

For information on supplements, you may want to check out these sites:

3. Access Thyroid-Specific Information

For conventional, mainstream thyroid information, several of my favorite resources include:

For more patient-oriented information, some other good resources include:

4. Avoid Scams

It's important to realize that because thyroid disease is often misdiagnosed and poorly treated, patients are often frustrated, making us a target ripe for the promises of Internet scammers and marketers. For example, there are many supplements being marketed as treatments or "cures" for thyroid disease, costly e-books promising easy weight loss or instant energy for thyroid patients, expensive memberships and webinars promising thyroid "secrets" and solutions, and many clinics and practitioners marketing costly thyroid "treatment" programs that include tests, vitamins and herbs, but no medications.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid purchasing products, information or programs that promise cures, "drug-free treatments," and easy fixes for complex thyroid, autoimmune and endocrine problems.

A helpful resource is the online guide, "Beware of Health Scams" from the National Institute on Aging.

5. Take Advantage of Helpful Apps

Apps for your smartphone can be especially helpful in many facets of your experience as a informed, empowered healthcare consumer.

Some general apps that can be of help include:

  • Medscape -- research, information, medical and health news
  • Symple - a symptom tracker
  • Drugs.com - look up drug information, identify capsules and pills, check medicine interactions, and set up personal medication records
  • MicroMedEx -- detailed drug information
  • PubMed Mobile - access National Library of Medicine medical/journal research database
  • Read by QxMd - access to medical news, journals
  • Sworkit - a personal fitness trainer
  • LoseIt - customized weight loss plans

For thyroid information tracking, testing, and support:

  • The MyMedLab Thyroid App -- track symptoms, get recommended tests

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