Friday, February 11, 2011

Ten health myths busted...

If you are reading this, chances are that you are definitely not under a stone cave. But despite your flashy degree, 21st century mental prowess and all the health information you have access to, the last decade has seen the buildup of some resistant health myths buried deep in your minds that simply refuse to go away! We’ve picked some of the choicest and busted them for you.

Myth: Cholesterol is always bad
Busted: There’s no need now to panic the moment your doctor mentions the word cholesterol. Cholesterol is a collective term for the two types of cholesterol, HDL (highdensity lipoprotein) and LDL (low-density lipoprotein). HDL is the good cholesterol and LDL, its bad counterpart. Certain foods like nuts, fish etc that contain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) can actually lower the LDL and increase the HDL content in your body. Healthy levels of cholesterol are essential for the normal function of your cells and membranes.

Myth: A flu that affects men will be tougher and more resilient compared to flu in women since it must have been a strong virus to have infected them in the first place (men are tougher!)
Busted: There is no difference in a flu affecting a man from that of flu in women. A survey conducted by Benenden Healthcare concluded that 2.5 million British men took time off work for a cold as opposed to only 1.5 million women who did the same. This was found to be only because women were more casual about their flu and considered it easier to get over with than their male counterparts who took their flu as a complicated new strain of virus.

Myth: A PSA of 4 or more means prostate cancer
Busted: Many think elevated PSA (prostatespecific antigen) indicate definitive prostate cancer but that isn’t true. Newer tests like complexed PSA (cPSA) and percentage free PSA other than a biopsy can be employed to find out if the elevated PSA is due to cancer or a benign condition. According to William Catalona, MD, a professor of Urology at Washington university at St Louis, “Any trauma or inflammation can cause PSA to leak into the surrounding tissue [of the prostate], where it is picked up in the bloodstream.” That literally means, anything from a throat infection to a bumpy bike ride can cause temporary peaks in PSA levels.

Myth: Viagra will cure erectile dysfuntion for all men
Busted: Although Viagra (Sildenafil citrate) has helped millions of men spice up their life in the bedroom, there is a select 20 per cent of men in whom it does not work. This is because Viagra cannot guarantee results for all the causes of erectile dysfunction. For example, erectile dysfunction due to a psychological cause has to be treated differently.

Myth: Men with bigger feet are better endowed
Busted: For a long time now the correlation between hands, feet, height, and for that matter even the nose have been rife, but none of this is based on any fact. A study published in the British Journal of Urology International in 2002 found out that there is no

Myth: Wearing hats can cause balding
Busted: This myth was born long ago in the West where men who joined the military were expected to wear hats, after which their hair started thinning. In actuality, it was because men who entered the military were at an age where androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness) set in. There is no scientific evidence to prove the link between balding and hats whatsoever. It, however, does not mean you should start wearing caps all the time since it is nice to give your hair some ‘breathing’ space.

Myth: Cracking your knuckles can cause arthritis
Busted: When you crack your knuckles, the gasses in your joint fluid (synovial fluid) are released under pressure, which creates the pop sound. Recent studies have concluded that cracking knuckles has no link to chances of developing osteoarthritis. So crack your knuckles, even drum your fingers on the table to pass time. None of it will give you arthritis. However excessive habitual cracking has been linked to tendon and ligament injury and reduced grip strength over a period of time.

Myth: Only women get breast cancer
Busted: Even though it is true that more women than men suffer from breast cancer – breast cancer can affect men too. In the United States alone 1,500 new cases are diagnosed every year out of which 400 cases end up in death. According to Men’s Health magazine, men are more likely to not understand the three main risk factors – obesity, family history and age (more than 60 years).

Myth: Men think about sex every 7 seconds
Busted: Do you really? We don’t think so. Here’s why: Dr Aaron Carroll of Indiana University and the co-author of the book Don’t Swallow your Gum!: Myths, Half Truths and Outright Lies about your body and health says that the sevensecond figure seems to be the approximate time we take between breaths. So it naturally seems preposterous to believe that men think about sex in every breath. A survey conducted in the US in 1994 on sexual behaviour by Edward Laumann and colleagues concluded that 43 per cent of men reported thinking about sex not even once a day. A bit extreme, we think.

Myth: Shaving can result in thicker hair growth
Busted: Shaving off hair, be it from the scalp or face, temporarily makes the new hair growth seem thicker and darker. Thicker, since the tapering tip of the hair is cut and the cross section of the emerging hair shaft looks larger in diameter and darker because the sun may not have got a chance to have bleached it yet. (Yes, sunrays can reduce the pigmentation of your hair to a small degree).

No comments:

Post a Comment