Health Concerns: What is the UK googling?
The average Brit spends around 5 years of their lives worrying. Broken down, this amounts to 1 hour and 50 minutes every day – with work and financial problems being at the top of the list. At Zesty we have decided to take this further, delving a little deeper to find out specifically what the top health worries Britons are having today.
Using Google Keyword Tool* we compiled a list of data showing the most searched for conditions after the phrase “Do I have…”- the results were very revealing…
Our data suggests that as a nation our top health concerns are predominantly mental health related. On average 16,280 of us searched for conditions within this category monthly from 2014 to 2015. Within this category anxiety came out as number 1, followed by depression. In fact, the top 12 most common search terms looked for each month fell under the category of ‘mental health’. So what is this data telling us? It could suggest that, as much as we have strived for the issues of mental health to be more at the forefront of our healthcare services, it is still regarded as somewhat of a taboo subject within this country. This could be the reason why so many of us are using the Internet to find out more about mental health and diagnose ourselves.
Mental health can be used to describe a vast array of conditions; from depression and bipolar disorder to OCD and beyond. But what if we look at the category of mental health more closely? Various disorders/conditions often don’t immediately spring to mind as being under the ‘mental health’ bracket. For example, coming in at number 9 on our list was the term “Do I have an eating disorder”. Most of us will have heard of the different types of eating disorders someone can suffer from, but may not immediately think of it as a mental health concern. An eating disorder is defined as any of a range of psychological disorders characterised by abnormal or disturbed eating habits. Following this definition we can see that this particular condition fits within the mental health bracket.
However, there is one condition that broke up this neat pattern of mental health struggle. Coming in at number 3 in the most searched for terms: diabetes.
According to Wikipedia, diabetes is a disorder of the metabolism causing excessive thirst and the production of large amounts of urine. It is a commonly known condition throughout the UK. So why are we searching for it so regularly? Why do we all think we have it? The ‘sugar tax’ has hit the headlines several times in recent months and the amount of sugar within our diets is under constant scrutiny. Diabetes is infamous for being linked to too much sugar intake, however this is not the whole story and could be attributed to the condition itself not being so clear-cut.
There are 2 forms of diabetes:
Type I – typically developed in children and young adults. The body stops making insulin and the blood sugar (glucose) level increases dramatically. No amount of sugar in your diet can cause Type I diabetes.
Type II – the most common form of diabetes, and the type most people are aware of. A person with type II diabetes will suffer from a resistance to insulin so their pancreas does not produce enough or the body does not react properly to insulin. Although sugar does not directly cause Type II diabetes, you are more likely to get it if overweight.
This misunderstanding of sugar and diabetes could be one reason why people are worried about it and turning to the Internet to find out more.
One conclusion we can draw from this research is that there is a need to understand more about mental health and make it less of a taboo, as well as strengthening our understanding of common conditions such as diabetes.
All of this data stirs a lot of other areas we could explore. For example, how does the UK’s health worries compare to those in other countries? This is something we will explore further. Keep looking out on the Zesty blog!
How did we do it?
*Using Google Autocomplete we ascertained our search terms relating to the top health concerns/worries in the UK over the past year.
Using an exact match search for terms following the phrase “Do I have…” we ran thee search terms through a keyword research tool and the results gave us the most searched for terms following this exact phrase. This resulted in around 150 unique search terms people had searched following “Do I have…” Using the NHS Symptom Checker to categorise all of the search terms with a total list of around 150.