GENERAL HEALTH TOPICS
If you're looking for a single place to start your search on a disease or condition, begin with this site, which provides access to many government and other databases.
The Merck Manual, a thorough, time-tested consumer guide to medical care and diseases, is online and searchable in its entirety.
Of the many hospital-affiliated sites, Mayo Clinic's Oasis is adept at providing comprehensive information for a lay user (though it also over-promotes the work of its staff in the process).
Though a for-profit business, HealthScout is a dogged, middle-of-the-road packager of health news from major sources. Best use: To see if recent news articles may add to the information from the sources above, which are usually more dated.
This commercial site, though rough to navigate, includes powerful tools to help you manage your medications, including an excellent interactions checker that lets you include vitamins, supplements and over-the-counter drugs.
FOOD AND NUTRITION
There's not one good, comprehensive site on consumer food and nutrition, but this service from Tufts points you to, and describes, many of the most relevant food sites.
Providing easy, online access to government information on food and
human nutrition for consumers. A service of the National Agricultural
If you're trying to lose or control weight, this site offers a range of reliable, user-friendly resources with no stupid ads or product-of-the-month hype.
Click on "Recipes by Nutrition" and this remarkably powerful tool delivers diverse, well-edited, printable recipes based on your nutritional needs or goals.
An excellent starting place, and a deep resource, for cancer information.
From the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center, a valuable source.
If you're trying to find a clinical trial that you or a loved one might participate in, this site lists current trials conducted under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health. Searchable by condition.
Both consumer-friendly and medically advanced information on heart disease and stroke.
WELLNESS AND ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS
One of the better consumer newsletters, Berkeley puts a lot of material online, including an index of boiled-down analyses of dietary supplements and herbs.
There's plenty of bunk online about alternative medicine; this site, sponsored by the National Institute of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, reports on the government's ongoing efforts to apply principles of science to the field.
Andrew Weil is a Harvard MD and a knowledgeable enthusiast about alternative care. This for-profit site presents Q&As addressing many questions on nutritional supplements and alternative techniques.
To find out if your doctor is indeed certified by an official specialty board, and in what specialty.
Among local states, only Maryland participates in this national information database, which reveals whether licensing boards have taken action against specific doctors.
Good basic explanations and definitions of health care insurance policies.
Click here for an online version of "Choosing Quality: Finding the Health Plan That's Right For You," created by the nonprofit National Committee for Quality Assurance. You'll also find accreditation reports on health maintenance organizations from all over the country.
Again, Maryland is ahead of others by providing the Maryland Health Care Commission's package of quality and performance reports on HMOs. Some of the information is also relevant to people in Virginia and the District.