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Finding The Right Health Forums

Aug 4, 2008
Health forums have sprung up all over the internet in the last five years. Some are sponsored by drug companies, some by medical provider companies such as WebMD, some are devoted to just a specific illness and some are started by enterprising webmasters hoping to offer a great social networking web site. How can you figure out which health forum would be the one that will actually offer you what you are looking for?

First, give serious thought to what you are looking for. Do you have a chronic disease and are looking for a support group? Do you just want some place to turn to when you have a question about something at that moment? Do you just enjoy keeping up on all things medical? There is some place for all of these and quite often it is all located at the same web site.

If you have a chronic disease and want to discuss only this particular topic, take a look at health forums that either specialize in this topic or have a section devoted to it. See how many posts there are on this site. Almost all forums will allow you to read the posts without actually registering. People with chronic conditions find that these forums offer a place for them to discuss their situation and get emotional support from others who suffer from the same ailment.

Anytime of the night or day you can login and post your thoughts and get a response from a kindred spirit, someone who knows exactly what you are going through. It might not even be a question, but maybe just a request for reassurance that things will get better or maybe just to vent. It is the perfect outlet for those who cannot constantly be dumping these emotions on their spouses or family and serves a great benefit to patients who need to talk to someone who actually can say "I know how you are feeling" and mean it.

On general health forums many of the posts are just a request for information from someone who has always been healthy, has no medical insurance and wants to know if what they are experiencing necessitates a doctor visit. Forums which have a large membership will more likely offer a response. A description of symptoms, followed by some questions from the other users can most times pinpoint what is happening and if an expensive doctor visit is needed or if an over the counter remedy might be tried first.

Sometimes a poster will know someone who is ill and is looking for information from another person who has been through it and can tell them what their friend or family member can expect. I have found that most all the people who frequent these types of social networking sites are kind and polite souls who try to make the poster as comfortable as possible. Harsh tones and sarcastic comments are rarely seen.

Some of the really terrific health forums actually have medical staff who monitor the forums and respond to questions. These qualities are no doubt what you should look for when determining if this might be the place for you. Take a look at all the forum titles offered and see if there is a topic or two that might pique your interest. Check out the staff credentials and read their responses. Are they addressing your concerns? Are their credentials related to your topic of interest?

Forums such as these offer answers to basic health questions that all of us have. Even if we do have health insurance, how many of us remember to ask our doctor these questions when we visit and further more, how many doctors actually have the time to sit and answer all our little questions?

Personally, I visit a number of health forums per week; I do have a special topic on which I consider myself an expert just by virtue of my years of dealing with this particular disease. I am more than willing to share whatever information I can to make someone else's life a little less stressful. Not only do they feel better, but I do too.
About the Author
Susan Chadwick writes for Global Health News, covering topics in all areas of health, from weight loss to internal cleansing.

One of the busier health forums online can be found at www.CureYourBody.com
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