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Top 10 health questions America asked Dr. Google in 2019

CNN logo CNN 12/15/2019 By Jacqueline Howard, CNN
a man and a woman standing in front of a building: NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 3: A woman looks at her smartphone as she walks past Google Building 8510 at 85 10th Ave on June 3, 2019 in New York City. Shares of Google parent company Alphabet were down over six percent on Monday, following news reports that the U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to launch an anti-trust investigation aimed at Google. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) © Drew Angerer/Getty Images NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 3: A woman looks at her smartphone as she walks past Google Building 8510 at 85 10th Ave on June 3, 2019 in New York City. Shares of Google parent company Alphabet were down over six percent on Monday, following news reports that the U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to launch an anti-trust investigation aimed at Google. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Google users in the United States had a lot of questions about blood pressure, the keto diet and hiccups in 2019.

Those topics were among the 10 most-searched health-related questions on the search engine this year, according to new data from Google.

The list was based on search terms collected between January and early December.

Last year, the top health-related questions Googled by people in the US included what is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, what is endometriosis and how long does weed stay in your urine.

In 2017, what is lupus, how long does the flu last and what causes hiccups were some of the health-related questions that had internet surfers turning to Google.

For 2019, here are the top 10 health-related questions people Googled -- along with the answers.

1. How to lower blood pressure

About 1 in 3 US adults -- or some 75 million people -- have high blood pressure and only 54% have it under control, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that "how to lower blood pressure" topped the list of most-searched health-related questions on Google in 2019.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is generally diagnosed when a person has a blood pressure reading higher than 130/80. It's recorded as two numbers with the top number referred to as systolic blood pressure and the bottom number as diastolic blood pressure.

Eating a healthy diet with less sodium and more potassium, losing weight, getting more exercise and relieving stress can all help lower blood pressure, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The health benefits of controlling blood pressure include reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke and even dementia.

2. What is keto?

When searching for information on the ketogenic diet, most people just use the word "keto," for short.

The keto diet was the top health-related search term on last year's list and ranked second this year.

The diet is high in fats, moderate in proteins and very low in carbs, and forces the body into a state known as ketosis. Ketosis causes the body to break down ingested and stored body fat into molecules called ketones, which are then used as energy. "Ketones circulate in the blood and become the main source of energy for many cells in the body," according to the National Cancer Institute.

The keto diet has grown in popularity, and many people tout its effectiveness in weight loss, but last year, US News and World Report ranked it last on its list of best diets.

Health experts were concerned about the diet's high fat content -- about 70% of daily caloric intake -- and its low carbohydrate requirement of around 15 to 20 net carbs a day.

The government's 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends people receive up to 65% of daily caloric intake from carbs and less than 10% from saturated fats.

"When you are on the keto diet, you drastically cut your carbs to only 20 per day. That's less than one apple!" said nutritionist Lisa Drayer, a CNN contributor.

For some, "the keto diet is just not sustainable over the long term. It doesn't teach you how to acquire healthy eating habits," Drayer said. "It's good for a quick fix, but most people I know can hardly give up pasta and bread, let alone beans and fruit."

3. How to get rid of hiccups

A question about what causes hiccups topped Google's list of trending health-related questions in 2017 -- and now, in 2019, how to get rid of hiccups ranked third.

Hiccups seem to start and stop for no obvious reason, but the US National Library of Medicine notes that hiccups often happen when something irritates your diaphragm, such as eating too quickly, drinking alcohol, feeling nervous or excited or taking certain medicines.

Most cases of hiccups usually go away on their own after a few minutes.

For chronic hiccups -- hiccups that last more than a few days or keep coming back -- a person should contact a health care provider to discuss any underlying causes and treatment options.

The 10 most-searched questions on health

There were more questions that had people Googling in 2019.

The full list of the most-searched health questions in the United States this year also included questions about the flu, kidney stones and human papillomavirus or HPV:

  1. How to lower blood pressure
  2. What is keto?
  3. How to get rid of hiccups
  4. How long does the flu last?
  5. What causes hiccups?
  6. What causes kidney stones?
  7. What is HPV?
  8. How to lower cholesterol
  9. How many calories should I eat a day?
  10. How long does alcohol stay in your system?

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