The internet connects people who share interests of all kinds and health is no exception. Eighteen percent of internet users have gone online to find others who might have health concerns similar to theirs. Twenty-three percent of internet users living with at least one of five chronic conditions named in the survey have looked online for someone with similar health concerns, compared with 15% of those who report no conditions.
Internet users who have experienced a recent medical emergency, their own or someone else’s, are also more likely than other internet users to go online to try to find someone who shares their situation: 23%, compared with 16%. This fits the pattern observed in Pew Internet’s other research that people going through a medical crisis are voracious information consumers: 85% say they look online for health information, compared with 77% of internet users who have not had that experience in the past year.
Internet users who have experienced a significant change in their physical health, such as weight loss or gain, pregnancy, or quitting smoking are also more likely than other internet users to have looked online for someone like them.