Take Charge of Your Health - Common Misconceptions
Despite their popularity, all of these medical beliefs range from unproved to untrue.
-R. C. Vreeman
Separating fact from fiction is an important step in Taking Charge of Our Health. We have all heard the following myths offered as truisms, and yet often there are facts that disprove them.
MISCONCEPTION: Read labels and look to consume foods with high percentages of the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance.)
FACT: Best to eat real food that does not have labels. Stick to proteins, fruits, vegetables…and stay away from packaged foods that list ingredients you have not heard of or cannot pronounce.
MISCONCEPTION: An hour of exercise each day at the gym is sufficient.
FACT: While dedicated exercise time is healthy, it is best to move around throughout the day. Every 60 minutes or so get up and walk around for 5 minutes. It is good for your body and your brain.
MISCONCEPTION: Lifting weights turn fat into muscle.
FACT: Fat and muscle are two different tissues. Fatty tissue is found between the muscles and around organs. Lifting weights helps builds muscle; the best way to reduce fatty tissue is through a healthy diet of vegetables and lean proteins.
MISCONCEPTION: Puzzles and games are great for our brains.
FACT: True, but physical activity that raises our heart rate is even better. Exercise also improves our mood and our memory.
MISCONCEPTION: We need eight glasses of water each day.
FACT: It is generally adequate to drink during meals and when we feel thirsty. We also get fluids through our foods. The best test is to check the color of your urine. It should be the color of lemonade. If it is darker, drink more water, if lighter consider drinking less.
MISCONCEPTION: If you have perfect vision, you do not need your eyes checked.
FACT: Everyone needs their eyes checked. Optometrists can find eye diseases such as glaucoma or even health issues like diabetes through a comprehensive eye exam.
MISCONCEPTION: Cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis.
FACT: The noise is not from bones or joints rubbing together, but from a gas bubble popping in the fluid between your bones. (It is not harmful, but before you begin, consider those around you who may be disturbed by the sound!)
MISCONCEPTION: You cannot get chickenpox twice.
FACT: Chicken pox is a strain of the herpes virus and can come back. Having chickenpox does not boost your immunity to the shingles virus.
MISCONCEPTION: Eggs are bad for your heart.
FACT: Eggs actually have omega-3s which can reduce the risk of heart disease. Eating one or two eggs a day can be fine, but it is important to keep tabs on your total intake of fats.
MISCONCEPTION: Germs on toilet seats make you sick.
FACT: Studies have shown bathroom door handles and floors tend to have more bugs like e. coli, norovirus or the flu, than the toilet seat. It is best to use a paper towel to touch door handles and wash your hands well after visiting the rest room.
MISCONCEPTION: Being cold gives you a cold.
FACT: You are more likely to get sick indoors in the winter when germs congregate and are more easily passed. Spending time in the cold air will not make you sick.
MISCONCEPTION: Ice cream and other dairy products can make a cold worse.
FACT: The idea that dairy products increase mucous is not true. Dairy can be helpful in soothing a sore throat or enabling you to get needed calories if you are not eating properly.
MISCONCEPTION: Vaccines cause autism.
FACT: Researchers have analyzed data from more than a million children and there is no connection between vaccines and autism.
MISCONCEPTION: Feed a cold, starve a fever.
FACT: Eating when you have a cold or a fever is important. Limiting your caloric intake can hurt your immune system. And yes, be sure to drink plenty of fluids.
MISCONCEPTION: Hospice Care and Palliative Care are the same thing.
FACT: Hospice care is one of the highly effective tools in the Palliative Care toolbox that has been proven to offer patients and their families the care, support and comfort they need to find peace and fulfillment at end of life. Palliative Care is much broader and can offer short-term supportive care for an injury, during recovery from surgery or rehab.
MISCONCEPTION: I can stop my antibiotic once I start to feel better.
FACT: Antibiotics need to be taken for their whole course of treatment to kill the remaining bacteria that lurk in your system even after you feel better. Some of the current drug resistant strains of bacteria have developed because of incomplete antibiotic treatment by patients.
MISCONCEPTION: Expired drugs are still OK to take.
FACT: Drugs that are expired lose some of their potency and hence should be disposed of safely.
MISCONCEPTION: You don’t need sunscreen if you stay in the shade.
FACT: The sun’s harmful UV rays still make their way to you even on shady days, so you should always use sunscreen when you will be outdoors.
MISCONCEPTION: You only have to be kind to the physician, everyone else doesn't matter.
FACT: Your medical provider works as part of a team and works best when everyone is valued and treated with respect.
Take Charge of Your Health by ensuring you have the real facts. Share misconceptions and facts you have learned or wondered about on the Health-E3 blog page. Also, please feel free to make suggestions on other topics you would like to see covered in these blog posts.