Myths vs. Facts

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What follows are commonly believed myths about health topics and general well-being. In no way do any of the facts replace advice from a medical professional.

Fitness

Fitness

  • MYTH: Running on a treadmill puts less stress on your knees than running on asphalt or pavement.FACT: The best way to reduce knee impact is to vary your workout, because it’s the force of your body weight on your joints that causes stress. It’s the same whether you workout on a treadmill or on asphalt.
  • MYTH: Doing crunches or working on an “ab machine” will get rid of belly fat.FACT: You can’t pick and choose areas where you’d like to burn fat. So crunches aren’t going to target weight loss in that area. While an ab-crunching device might help strengthen the muscles around your midsection and improve your posture being able to “see” your abdominal muscles has to do with your overall percentage of body fat. If you don’t lose the belly fat you won’t see the muscles. Create a workout that includes both cardiovascular and strength-training elements to burn fat.
  • MYTH: If you’re not working up a sweat, you’re not working hard enough.FACT: Sweating is not necessarily an indicator of exertion. Sweating is your body’s way of cooling itself. It’s possible to burn a significant number of calories without breaking a sweat: Try taking a walk or doing some light weight training.
  • MYTH: Machines are a safer way to exercise because you’re doing it right every time.FACT: Although it may seem as if an exercise machine automatically puts your body in the right position and helps you do all the movements correctly, that’s only true if the machine is properly adjusted for your weight and height. Unless you have a coach or a trainer or someone to figure out what is the right setting for you, you can make just as many mistakes in form and function, and have just as high a risk of injury, on a machine as if you work out with free weights or do any other type of non-machine workout.
  • MYTH: No pain, no gainFACT: Of all the fitness rumors ever to have surfaced, experts agree that the “no pain-no gain” holds the most potential for harm. While you should expect to have some degree of soreness a day or two after working out, that’s very different from feeling pain while you are working out. Experts advise against working through the pain. If it hurts, stop, rest, and see if the pain goes away. If it doesn’t go away, or if it begins again or increases after you start to work out, see a doctor.

Nutrition

Nutrition

  • MYTH: Healthy food is boring and tasteless.FACT: Some of the most satisfying foods and meals are delicious. There are lots of websites that offer healthy and delicious recipes. This website will demonstrate to you that there are ample meals that are very tasty and healthy. But don’t stop at the meals that are just listed in the recipe section of this website. There are many more waiting to be discovered!!!
  • MYTH: You must eat large meals to feel satisfiedFACT: Quality of food not quantity produces healthy satisfaction. People these days believe the amount of food they eat will make them feel better. Restaurants are serving portions which are much larger then ever before. However people are still starving there bodies for nutrition. It is a fact that your body needs nutritious meals, not just big quantities of junk food.
  • MYTH: When you have reached a certain age, you can’t get in shape.FACT: Health and wellbeing can be enhanced at any age! In 2011 there were new stories about the 100-year-old marathon runner. The man didn’t start running marathons until he was 89!
  • MYTH: Eating right is too hard.FACT: Eating right is not complicated. There are many websites that can help you integrate healthy eating easily into your lifestyle. Eating healthy is easier then you might think, it’s just those bad habits that need to be broken to allow you into that proper routine.
  • MYTH: The best way to lose weight is with a low carbohydrate diet.FACT: Low glycemic index (GI) diet is the best way to lose weight. Carbohydrates are an essential part of a healthy diet, to have sufficient energy to do things throughout the day. A low carbohydrate diet often leads to low energy levels, decrease in strength, tiredness and depression. A low GI diet incorporates quality carbohydrate sources, which ensures you have sufficient carbohydrates to avoid these symptoms.
  • MYTH: Sugar will not cause you to put on weight.FACT: Sugar will convert to fat if not used by your body as energy. Putting on weight is primarily as simple as calories in versus calories used. Excess sugar can also lead to diabetes.
  • MYTH: Cutting off your bread’s crust is harmless.FACT: Research has found that the baking process produces a novel type of cancer-fighting antioxidant in bread that is eight times more abundant in the crust than in the crumb.
  • MYTH: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.FACT: A handful of blueberries a day will keep the doctor away more effectively. Blueberries are a nutritional jackpot, rich in antioxidants and fiber, and they’re also easy to toss into cereal and yogurt. That said, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is important to prevent many chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • MYTH: Eating Fish makes you smart.FACT: For kids up to age three or four, this is indeed the case. Fish, especially oily ones, such as salmon, are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which is beneficial for brain development, cognition and visual acuity. Your child doesn’t like fish? Try avocados, walnuts, and canola oil.

Children’s Health

Children’s Health

  • MYTH: My child feels warm, so she has a fever.FACT: Children can feel warm for a many reasons, such as playing hard, crying, getting out of a warm bed or being outside on a hot day. They are “giving off heat.” Their skin temperature should return to normal in 10 to 20 minutes. Once these causes are excluded, about 80% of children who feel warm and act sick actually have a fever. If you want to be sure, take their temperature. The following are the cutoffs for fever using different types of thermometers:
    -Rectal, ear or temporal artery thermometers: 100.4° F (38.0° C) or higher
    -Oral or pacifier thermometers: 100° F (37.8° C) or higher
    -Under the arm (Axillary or Armpit) temperatures: 99° F (37.2° C) or higher
  • MYTH: All fevers need to be treated with fever medicine.FACT: Fevers only need to be treated if they cause discomfort. Usually fevers don’t cause any discomfort until they go above 102° or 103° F (39° or 39.5° C).
  • MYTH: Without treatment, fevers will keep going higher.FACT: Wrong. Because the brain has a thermostat, fevers from infection usually don’t go above 103° or 104° F (39.5°- 40° C). They rarely go to 105° or 106° F (40.6° or 41.1° C). While the latter are “high” fevers, they are harmless ones.
  • MYTH: With treatment, fevers should come down to normal.FACT: With treatment, fevers usually come down 2° or 3° F (1° or 1.5° C).
  • MYTH: Oral temperatures between 98.7° and 100° F (37.1° to 37.8° C) are low-grade fevers.FACT: These temperatures are normal variations. The body’s temperature normally changes throughout the day. It peaks in the late afternoon and evening. An actual low-grade fever is 100° F to 102° F (37.8° – 39° C).
  • MYTH: Warm milk will help kids fall asleep.FACT: Milk contains small amounts of tryptophan (the same amino acid in turkey), but not enough to have a measurable effect. It might be seen as effective if used as part of a routine to help kids wind down before bedtime.

General Wellness

General Wellness

  • MYTH: If you go out with wet hair you’ll catch a cold.FACT: You will feel cold but will be just fine healthwise. Feeling cold doesn’t affect your immune system.
  • MYTH: If you cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way.FACT: There’s no harm in voluntary eye crossing, but if you notice your child doing this a lot he might have other vision problems.
  • MYTH: You should feed a cold and starve a fever.FACT: In both cases, eat and drink, then drink some more. Staying hydrated is the most important thing to do, because you lose a lot of fluids when you’re ill. Unless you are severely hydrated from vomiting or diarrhea, there there’s no need for special beverages containing electrolytes.
  • MYTH: Gum stays in your stomach for seven years.FACT: Your Little Leaguer’s wad of Big League Chew won’t (literally) stick around until high school graduation. Fluids carry gum through the intestinal tract, and within days it passes. And even though gum isn’t easily broken down in the digestive system, it probably won’t cause a stomachache, either.
  • MYTH: You lose 75 percent of your body heat through your head.FACT: This myth was likely based on an infant’s head size, which is a much greater percentage of the total body than an adult head. That’s why it’s important to make sure an infant’s head remains covered in cold weather. (This also explains those ubiquitous newborn caps at the hospital.) But for an adult, the figure is more like 10 percent. And keep in mind that heat escapes from any exposed area (feet, arms, hands), so putting on a hat is no more important than slipping on gloves.
  • MYTH: To get rid of hiccups, have someone startle you.FACT: Most home remedies, like holding your breath or drinking from a glass of water backward, haven’t been medically proven to be effective. But if you want to try one more trick, this dates back to 1971, when it was published in The New England Journal of Medicine: Swallow one teaspoon of white granulated sugar. According to the study, this tactic resulted in the cessation of hiccups in 19 out of 20 afflicted patients.
  • MYTH: You shouldn’t swim for an hour after eating.FACT: Splash away. After eating, more blood flows to the digestive system and away from the muscles. The thinking was that if you exercised strenuously right after eating, that lack of blood would cause you to cramp up and drown. But that won’t happen.

Women’s Health

Women’s Health

  • MYTH: Only women with a family history of breast cancer are at risk.FACT: According to the American Cancer Society, more than 85 percent of women who get breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease. The truth is that only two percent of women with breast cancer actually have the inherited breast cancer (BRCA) gene. When it comes to risk factors, the biggest one of all might not come as a surprise: being female. Our risk also increases as we age.
  • MYTH: You don’t need a mammogram until you’re 50.FACT: Mammograms are the best screening test for early detection of breast cancer. Screening mammograms have been shown to lower mortality in breast cancer by 30 percent. Cooper Clinic recommends a baseline mammogram at age 35 and annually beginning at age 40. If you have a relative who has been diagnosed with breast cancer prior to menopause, you should start getting a mammogram approximately ten years before they were diagnosed.
  • MYTH: Monthly self-exams are not necessary.FACT: Beginning in your 20s, you should perform monthly self-exams. By performing these monthly exams you may detect an abnormality before your mammogram is due. The best time to examine your breast is the week after your menstrual cycle. Ask your physician how to examine your breasts.
  • MYTH: Breast cancer is always in the form of a lump.FACT: While breast cancer may appear as a lump, very often a lump is a non-cancerous cyst. Cysts and cancerous tumors may easily be distinguished with breast ultrasound. Other physical changes to look for during your self exam are skin thickening, dimpling or redness and also changes in the nipple including an inverted nipple or scaly-like skin around the nipple.

Men's Health

Men’s Health

    • Myth: A PSA (Prostate-specific antigen) of 4 or higher means prostate cancerFact: That’s the health myth some urologists have led us to believe. Many men think elevated PSA levels only mean prostate cancer. However, any type of trauma or inflammation can cause PSA to leak into the surrounding tissue [of the prostate], where it is picked up in the bloodstream. In fact, everything from a bacterial infection to a long bicycle ride can cause a minor jump in your PSA level.
    • Myth: Men don’t go through menopauseFact: Men can and do go through menopause, but it’s rare, and found in perhaps just 2 percent of men. The term is actually called “late-onset hypogonadism,” and refers to a decrease in testosterone levels, which could cause sexual health problems. But since testosterone can fall naturally with age, identifying the criteria to diagnose the condition has been controversial.
    • Myth: Wearing a Hat Can Make You Lose Your HairFact: There’s no evidence that wearing a hat will make your hair fall out. A study about the cause of baldness in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that the “hair progenitor” stem cells, which replenish your hair, appear to be depleted in balding areas of the scalp. Stem cells in the hair follicle remain, but do not convert into the progenitor cells necessary to re-grow your hair. As for what causes the depletion of these stem cells, or the potential defect in conversion of hair follicle stem cells to progenitor cells … it’s still a mystery, but it is known that male pattern baldness tends to be hereditary.
    • Myth: Men can’t get breast cancerFact: While it’s true that women are more likely (by about 100 times) to be diagnosed with breast cancer than men. But that doesn’t make men immune. In 2010, nearly 2,000 men were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and about 400 died from the disease. About one in 1,000 men will get breast cancer during their lifetime, and, as with women, the most common sign is a lump or thickening of breast tissue.

Sources: WebMD, coolhealthtips.com and healthyeating-tips.com, HealthyChildren.org, RealSimple.com, cooperaerobics.com, menshealth.com, cncahealth.com