This site is a must for anyone who wants a layman’s guide to illnesses and serious conditions.
The articles are written with considerable authority and give a large amount of detail. And the site also contains health news – providing a one-stop-shop summary of recent press coverage.
Accessing the information is simple as the site is easy to navigate with lots of colour and clearly presented icons on which you can click to discover a wealth of medical information.
There are several interactive tools to play with. For the hypochondriacs among us, there is a range of tests for various illnesses. For starters, you can find out if you are at risk of diabetes and test your risk of developing cardio-vascular diseases.
Particularly useful in winter is the page which assesses whether you have the flu – the user fills in a range of questions – multiple choice – and asks for a diagnosis.
Another useful section is called “Ask the specialist”, an agony-aunt type page. Readers can email questions on a particular topic – stroke, for example – and receive a specialist answer. These make fascinating, although not light, reading, as the reader’s stories and problems can often be quite poignant.
Everywhere in the site, there are warnings that these tests are guidelines only and not a substitute for visiting a physician. Many of the articles are reviewed by qualified specialist physicians to ensure medical accuracy.
There are also sections on men’s and women’s health. Amusingly, on the day we visited, the women’s health page had an icon saying: “Did you know every time you lick a stamp you’re consuming 1/10 of a calorie?”
Elsewhere on the site, you can find a hospital from an extensive database. And if you are travelling abroad, the travel medicine section has a map of the world on which you can select the area you are visiting for an update.
The daily news service is excellent. And a brief overview of health stories can be delivered by email to subscribers’ desks. Each story is concisely summarised and shows the paper in which it appeared.