I only have one medical problem. One. Whenever I develop a new ache, pain or mysterious malady and look it up in the Internet, it always says the same thing:
“Usually due to aging.”
So you see? There is only ONE thing wrong with me.
When you get to be a certain age, stuff happens. And something different pops up every day. Seems like I’ve Googled them all at one time or another. Maybe you have too.
Back and joint pain? “Usually worsens after age 65.” Love that word they use: degenerative.
Headache? “May be due to anything from an eye condition to a brain tumor, but definitely worse as you get older.”
Gastrointestinal problems? Acid reflux? Yup. “More common in older people.”
You get the picture. See these happy people looking up symptoms on the Internet? In a few minutes those smiles will be gone.
In all seriousness, be cautious when checking medical symptoms on the Internet. First, make sure you go to a reputable website. Here’s some good advice about health information on the Internet from AARP:
Another site I find helpful and easy to navigate is:
Sometimes you can really scare yourself by Googling symptoms. However, you can find valuable information and, many times, calm your fears. And that could make you complacent about following up on something potentially serious. Better to leave the diagnosis up to the real live doctors.
Another thing I notice is how seniors really do like to talk about their infirmities, especially to each other. In the atrium before and after church, you’ll find huddles of seniors checking up on each other. Things like, “What did the doctor say this week?” The nice thing about that is there is always a willing ear to listen. But don’t take a deep breath, because as soon as you pause, the other guy will jump right in with his issues. As I always say, seniors have issues.
Guess it’s a matter of having common interests - just as when a group of young mothers get together, they can’t seem to talk about anything but their kids.
Let me advise you to follow a balanced, nutritious diet, get plenty of exercise and have regular checkups at your doctors’ offices. And you’ll be just fine. As for Internet symptom-checking, use your discretion!
Jane Booras is Editor of the Campus Times Newsletter for Computer School for Seniors (www.cs4seniors.com)