What is WebMD and How Does It Work?

Last updated: January 30, 2015 - 3:46pm EST

These days, it seems like there are so many people and companies out there claiming that they've found a new magic diet pill or miracle food or alternative exercise/therapy regimen.  It's difficult enough to decide what's legitimate or not, let alone stop second-guessing your health to the point where you wonder if you have a condition that needs some kind of product or treatment to fix.  Thankfully, WebMD is here to put your mind at ease.

Created in 1999 by Jim Clark, Pavan Nigam, and Robert Draughon, WebMD is a free online portal for health information.  It contains news and advice on exercise and body care, food and dieting, sex/relationships/pregnancy, parenting, and even how to navigate choosing a physician or health insurance plan.  Its features include:

  • A "Symptom Checker" function to learn about possible conditions you may have (discuss them with your doctor!)

  • A directory of pharmacies, physicians, and hospitals

  • An index of common prescription drugs and their specifications

  • Online journals (blogs) from physicians and other health experts

You can also subscribe to specific newsletters to let WebMD send you news on health topics and conditions that matter to you.  And all of this information is accredited by the largest health care oversight organization in the United States, so you can rest easy knowing that it's coming from a real doctor and not a quack.

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