Internet Health Care Myths
Sandra Miller, MD, is the assistant director of the Banner Good Samaritan Family Medicine Residency program in Phoenix
Question: With all the health information available online, have you come across some medical “myths” or “secrets” that you can share?
Answer: With so much information available through the Internet, “secrets” don’t really exist, though misrepresentations do. Following are some of the more notable myths that warrant addressing:
Myth: More women die from breast cancer than any other cancer.
Fact: Actually, lung cancer from smoking kills more women annually than breast cancer. And tobacco-related illnesses like emphysema and heart disease are equally dangerous. Stop smoking and your risk of having a heart attack is cut in half in a year. Consult your physician for smoking cessation resources and quit now.
Myth: Getting healthy always requires the help of a specialist.
Fact: Daily exercise and healthy eating are two significant and reasonably simple approaches to improving your health. Start today and you’ll experience less depression, live longer, reduce your diabetes risk, improve bone strength, and even delay the onset of dementia.
Myth: A daily vitamin provides complete nutrition.
Fact: While a daily multivitamin is a good supplement, it cannot fix dietary weaknesses. We need fiber and vitamins that occur naturally in real foods to keep our intestines working properly. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables to ensure you get adequate nutrition.
Myth: Alcohol is only damaging if you are addicted to it.
Fact: You don’t have to be addicted to alcohol to be negatively affected by it. Alcohol can disrupt sleep, damage the heart muscle, nerve cells and liver, and cause loss of bone density. Alcohol should be consumed only in moderation, defined by one drink per day for women and two for men.
Reviewed October 2010