When you think about the internet today and the ocean of information available, you would leap in joy, but when you also discover that amidst all that information, there are some that would do you more harm than good, mostly because they are incorrect or mythical or unproven, it puts a damp on all the excitement, and following these unfounded information, especially the medical claims; can put one in more danger than they are trying to avoid.
Below are 7 medical myths that have been busted.
“Fat consumption is bad for you”
Owing to the fact that the word “fat’ is used in super generic manner, it has led us to think that everything that has fats is bad for us. Fats are in classes and there are healthy fats which play a role in the absorption of certain minerals and vitamins. They are also a major source of energy and are essential in building cell membranes, sheaths around the nerves, for blood clotting, muscle movement, etc. The healthy fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and they are actually good for you.
The ‘bad guys’ fats are called trans fats; they are industrial-made and unhealthy. Trans fats are byproducts of the process of hydrogenation, eating trans fats increase the level of harmful LDL cholesterol and reduce the amount of helpful HDL cholesterol. They also cause heart disease and other serious conditions. Research has shown that eating just 2% of calories from trans fats increases the risk of coronary heart diseases by 23%.
“Reading in low light weakens your eyesight.”
It doesn’t. According to most ophthalmologists, reading in low light will not cause permanent damage to our vision. Reading in the dark causes a strain on the eyes as they can get tired like any other muscle of our body. It takes more work for the eyes to read in low light making them get tired faster. So, reading in the dark will give you a headache and cause eye strain, but it will not cause any lasting damage.
If you are reading in the dark due to a reason that cannot be changed, blink often as it will help the eyes to remain moist. Improving eye muscle flexibility through eye exercises is also recommended.
“Pink eye can be spread by looking at the infected person’s eye.”
Pink eye (Apollo in Nigerian slang) is an infection in the conjunctiva of the eye because of bacteria or virus, or due to certain allergic reactions upon contact with certain things like smoke, cosmetics, contact lenses, air pollution, etc. When conjunctivitis spreads, it is because in some way or other the person came into contact with one of the things that can cause the disease. The bacteria or the virus do not spread only by looking at an infected person as they do not travel in the light. Physical contact is necessary even if it is indirect.
“Obese people gain weight despite eating little because they have a slow metabolism.”
This is a common misconception that is not supported medically. It is correct that obesity is an accumulation of extra fat, but except in cases of medical conditions like hypothyroidism or Cushing’s syndrome, a slow metabolism is not the cause of weight gain. Exercise, genes, certain medical conditions, and diet are the influencing factors in weight gain or loss, not metabolism.
In fact, overweight people have a high “Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)” which is the minimum amount of energy one needs to do things and the rate at which a person’s body burns the calories.
“That rings are worn on the ring finger because it has a vein that leads to the heart.”
Since the 16th century, the “vena amoris” or the “vein of love” was believed to be the vein in the fourth finger of the left hand that led directly to the heart. This was thought to be one of the reasons why wedding or engagement rings were worn on the ring finger. However, this claim is false. All the fingers in the hand have a similar vein structure, and none of the veins lead directly to the heart. So, the vena amoris does not exist.
“Pledging your organs as an organ donor means that the hospitals will not try as hard as to save you.”
There is a common fear that people who sign up to be organ donors will not be given proper medical treatment as much as those who have not signed up. This is not true as the doctors and paramedics will do their best to save your life irrespective of the fact that you have pledged your organs. The doctors in charge of taking care of the patient are not involved in the organ procurement or transplantation procedure.
“Use CPR on someone having a heart attack.”
A person in cardiac arrest will usually stop breathing or gasp for breath and become unresponsive, often not having a pulse. Those having a heart attack will generally have a pulse, will sweat, and have chest pain. Using CPR on someone who is having a heart attack will not save their life, but if they are having a cardiac arrest, it can help. The terms are used interchangeably, but a heart attack and a cardiac arrest are not the same things.
A heart attack is when a blocked artery prevents blood from reaching the heart, whereas a cardiac arrest is when the heart stops functioning suddenly and stops beating. The former is a “circulation” problem; the latter is an “electrical one.” A person can have both simultaneously. A person in cardiac arrest will usually stop breathing or gasp for breath and become unresponsive, often not having a pulse. Those having a heart attack will generally have a pulse, will sweat, and have chest pain. In both cases, the best thing to do is call the emergency services.