Many Americans turn to friends and family for support and advice when they have a health problem. This report shows how people’s networks are expanding to include online peers, particularly in the crucible of rare disease.
The most striking finding of the national survey is the extent of peer-to-peer help among people living with chronic conditions. One in four internet users living with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart conditions, lung conditions, cancer, or some other chronic ailment (23%) say they have gone online to find others with similar health concerns. By contrast, 15% of internet users who report no chronic conditions have sought such help online.
When asked about the last time they had a health issue, however, 71% of adults in the U.S. say they received information, care, or support from a health professional. Fifty-five percent of adults say they turned to friends and family. Twenty-one percent of adults say they turned to others who have the same health condition. The oft-expressed fear that patients are using the internet to self-diagnose and self-medicate without reference to medical professionals does not emerge in national phone surveys or in this special rare-disease community survey.
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Peer-to-peer Healthcare | Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project
Researchers are developing new ways to manage OA and gaining insight into its causes.
By Susan Bernstein
Humans have dealt with the pain, stiffness and swelling of osteoarthritis, or OA, for ages. Yet researchers still study the disease vigorously with the goals of finding more about what causes OA, what steps may help people prevent OA and what new treatments may alleviate its symptoms and halt joint damage. In recent months, news on OA treatment developments and insight into the disease’s possible causes, and what may prevent it, have emerged.
Most important, researchers now have a deeper understanding of OA, a concept called patho-mechanics, and this knowledge affects OA treatment development. At the American College of Rheumatology’s (ACR) State-of-the-Art Symposium held in April 2010 in Chicago, lecturers noted OA must be viewed as a combination of how your body’s mechanics work, how your genes may have set you up to develop OA, and outside factors that can affect your bone, cartilage and various tissues and lead to the disease.
The November 2010 Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) in Atlanta featured reports from a number of researchers who are digging deeper in OA’s mysteries and its possible treatment.
Osteoarthritis Treatments, Medications | Osteoarthritis Research