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  • Writer's picturePodcast Librarian

Am I Dying?: The perfect antidote to frantic WebMD searching

The Premise (from Apple Podcasts):

Two top doctors present a comprehensive, light-hearted podcast for the hypochondriac in all of us. Christopher Kelly, MD, and Marc Eisenberg, MD, FACC, are highly accomplished physicians and health experts from UNC Health and Columbia University Medical Center, respectively. This podcast is an adaptation of their book "Am I Dying?!: A Complete Guide to Your Symptoms--and What to Do Next," and aims to walk listeners through common symptoms and medical myths to provide a helpful, conversational guide on what to do when you experience symptoms, offering advice on whether to chill out, make a doctor's appointment, or go to the hospital.

Series or standalone:


Begin listening to:

Five Strangest Symptoms is a fun one!


Conversational chat about real medical information


Christopher Kelly, MD and Marc Eisenberg, MD, FACC

Sound/production quality:

Very good

Rating/age suitability:

Usually suitable for all ages, but obviously some episodes (like Erectile Dysfunction) may not be family-friendly.

Approximate length of episodes:

20 minutes--short and sweet!

Curricular ties:

Probably none, thought medical students might find this interesting or helpful for review. The docs also tell some fun stories about their med school years.

Similar recommended pods:

This is really similar to another short conversational/informational pod that I love called Risky or Not. It's basically the same format (two very smart professionals explain things in a way the average person can understand) and premise but for food safety instead. I promise it's much more fun than I just made it sound!

Podcast Librarian’s Review:

Raise your hand if you’ve ever Googled your seemingly benign symptoms and found some terrifying WebMD article that causes the usually fuzzy concept of your mortality suddenly seem much more certain. Yep, me too. I’m a bit hypochondriacal to begin with, but 2020 certainly hasn’t done much to assuage that tendency—quite the opposite. When I found this short podcast hosted by two doctors, I was immediately drawn to the title. It's a conversational pod in which cardiologists Mark and Chris discuss a a common symptom (e.g., chest pain, back pain, headache) or other medical topic (genetic testing, tick bites, the ER) in a way that is informational and entertaining--it's health infotainment! The doctors talk about both the un-worrisome things that a symptom can indicate (e.g., chest pain could actually just be a muscle spasm/strain) as well as the more scary stuff (chest pain could also be--duh--a heart attack). It's similar information that you would read in a WebMD article, but with the human reassurance of doctors who have seen it all and can talk you down off a ledge (or, alternatively, tell you that you need to go to the ER right now). They even have a ranking system for this: Chill out; Make a doctor's appointment; or Go to the ER.

Another really useful feature of this pod is that the docs tell you how to best talk to your doctor about your symptoms and understand your doctor's questions. From that same Chest Pain episode, they mention that if your doctor asks if you have pain, that doesn't have to mean shooting pain. If you have any sort of pressure, sensations, etc., that all counts as pain. I know I have downplayed my symptoms before with a doctor because I figured if I wasn't curled up on the floor in agonizing pain, then it didn't really count as pain. What I love most is that Mark and Chris have a really fun banter and love to poke fun at each other (See: their relentless teasing of each other in the Bloating/Gas episode), which makes this a fun casual listen with likeable hosts. This podcast even caused me to make a change for my own health--their episode about heartburn taught me about esophageal cancer (which is much more common now than in previous decades) and how my 6-cans-of-sparkling-water-daily habit was a risk factor. I quit cold turkey! Will this podcast change your life, too? Maybe, maybe not. But either way, it's a fun quick listen. The pod ties in nicely with their book, which is called...wait for it...Am I Dying?!: A Complete Guide to Your Symptoms--and What to Do Next.

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