Top 9 Medical Myths

Dr. Keith Hopcroft of The Times has put together his list top 9 medical myths. Can having sex cause a heart attack? Are headaches a sign of brain tumors? Is breast self-exam actually useless? Can the flu shot give you the flu? Put your medical knowledge to the test. Check out the myths, inside…

9. Having sex can cause a heart attack in men.
Mostly untrue. Per hour, the chances of a 50 year old, non-smoking male suffering a heart attack is about 1 in a million. During sex this increases to 2 in a million which is still negligible.

8. High blood pressure causes headaches.
Very untrue except for in extreme rare cases. High blood pressure usually has no superficial symptoms at all.

7. Diabetics crave sugar.
Mostly untrue. Some diabetics require sugar if their glucose is too low but craving sugar by itself does not equal diabetes.

6. Women need to self-examine their breasts.
Very untrue. Research shows that self-exam has no effect in terms of breast cancer outcomes because it isn’t sensitive enough to detect important lumps. In fact it can cause harm by subjecting examiners to increased anxiety. The same holds true for testicular self-exam in males.

5. Diet cuts cholesterol.
Mostly untrue. In clinical trials, diet alone could only cut cholesterol by 10%. Doctors rarely suggest diet changes alone if your cholesterol really needs lowering.

4. Headaches alone can be a sign of a brain tumor.
Totally untrue. Actual tumors produce other symptoms like personality change, fits, or shaking.

3. You shouldn’t mix antibiotics and alcohol.
Totally untrue with the exception of the antibiotic metronidazole. Most interactions between alcohol and antibiotics are so small that they’re irrelevant.

2. Your tiredness may be caused by anemia.
Mostly untrue. Tiredness by itself is common and usually caused by lifestyle issues. Many times people with tiredness have blood tests that reveal anemia but it was probably not the actual cause of the tiredness.

1. Flu shots give you the flu.
Totally untrue. The vaccine does not contain live virus so it cannot cause the flu. However, many people will contract the cold or the flu around the time of their flu shot and link it to their flu shot.

The top medical myths [The Times]
(Photo: Getty)