Monday, February 1, 2016

10 Credible Online Health Resources

by Larry Creswell, M.D.

The Internet has revolutionized the way we get information -- whether it’s the news, the weather report or information about our health. But in some sense, there is just too much information. A quick Google search about an athlete’s medical problem typically yields far too many leads to track down. As I see it, the bigger -- and more relevant -- problem is that there is actually too little quality information. Here are my picks for 10 useful online and social media resources for athletes looking for information about heart disease.

General Resource
1. American Heart Association (AHA) - This is a large organization whose mission is “to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.” Their main website at heart.org is a portal for easy-to-understand information about the heart, cardiovascular disease, stroke and healthy nutrition. You can follow on Twitter at @american_heart. There are links to regional or local sites where you can find a CPR class, local fundraising efforts or a 5k run/walk. Register at theheart.org and follow on Twitter at @theheartorg to share in an online newsletter with the most up-to-date news stories about heart-related research.

Health News
There is a virtually endless variety of sources for health-related news. Here are my favorites for credible, authoritative, and often creative reporting. These resources will not only cover the important heart-related news, but also broader medical news.

2. NY Times Well Blog (well.blogs.nytimes.com, @nytimeswell). This is a great source for short articles from a group of authors about timely health issues. The pieces are newsy and sometimes provocative.

3. Science Daily (sciencedaily.com, @sciencedaily) is “your source for the latest research news.” A broad range of topics is covered, but will never miss important new heart-related or exercise physiology research. These succinct articles often provide practical, unbiased information for athletes.

4. CNN Health (cnn.com/HEALTH, @CNNHealth). Chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, MD (@sanjayguptaCNN), and a large team of reporters cover the whole gamut of health problems. The reporting can sometimes be superficial, but perhaps this is understandable in mass-market reporting. You can count on factually correct information here.

5. WSJ Health Blog (blogs.wsj.com/health/, @WSJHealth, @WSJHealthBlog). The blog is maintained by writers from the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswire. The topics are timely and often give a glimpse into the sometimes hidden worlds of healthcare.

Blogs/Perspective

6. Dr. John M (drjohnm.org, @drjohnm) is written by John Mandrola, MD, a cardiologist from Lexington, Kentucky, who specializes in electrophysiology (arrhythmias). He’s also an occasional triathlete and avid cyclist. His Cycling Wednesday posts are often devoted to topics at the intersection of endurance sport and heart disease or physiology. Great reading.

7. Heart Sisters (myheartsisters.org, @HeartSisters) is written by Carolyn Thomas, a 2008 heart attack survivor, and focuses on women and heart disease. She shares down-to-earth, practical information about heart disease, personal stories, as well as new-related items. Her Twitter feed doesn’t miss much important news related to the heart.

8. Eating Academy (eatingacademy.com, @eatlikepete) is written by Peter Attia, MD, a former trainee in surgery. He has a passion for healthy nutrition and writes about the underlying physiology in an accessible way.

Support Groups
9. Ironheart Racing (ironheartracing.com, @IronheartRacing) is a Seattle-based multisport racing team, with a far-flung membership of athletes, most with some personal connection to heart disease. Founded by David Watkins, who has undergone operation for bicuspid aortic valve and aortic root enlargement, the organization hosts endurance events, has an active forum for sharing stories about heart disease, and is partnered with several national charity organizations in the area of inherited heart conditions.

10. Cardiac Athletes (cardiacathletes.org.uk) has a terrific forum where athletes can exchange stories related to personal experiences with heart disease.


Larry Creswell, M.D., is a cardiac surgeon and Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. In addition to his regular column on Endurance Corner, he maintains The Athlete's Heart blog to offer information about athletes and heart disease in an informal way and to encourage exchange and discussion that will help athletes build a heart-healthier lifestyle. You can contact him at lcreswell@umc.edu.
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