Medical Myths: Busted

How many of us grew up listening to our parents saying things like If you keep making that face, it will get stuck that way? While thats not exactly a great health myth its still a story that just simply isnt true. There are many other similar stories that you may have even heard from your doctor, and theyre just not true. While a lot of it can be silly, there are plenty of incidents that can cause us to worry and stress out over situations where its really not necessary at all. Here are a few examples of real life medical fairy tales that should help you rest a little easier.


Dairy products get a bad rap in a lot of cases, but there are two scenarios in particular that seem to crop up more frequently. There has been a connection between infants dairy consumption and firmer stool, but that doesnt necessarily mean that cheese causes constipation. The National Center for Health Statistics studied over 15,000 people and only 13% of those reported any constipation. That same 13% actually consumed more cheese than the other participants, as well as having a lower intake of foods high in fiber. Another area where dairy is the bad guy to most people is when youre sick. Youve probably had at least one person tell you that it makes you more congested, or that it makes you produce more mucus. Those people are likely part of the group of people who are extra sensitive to how milk feels when they drink it. It can have a somewhat mucus like sensation as it spreads out over saliva in the mouth and throat. Theres not actually any more phlegm, it just feels that way to some people.


Millions of Americans suffer from hypertension, and we often attribute a lot of it to our stressful lives. While it is true that heightened blood pressure is an effect of our bodys natural stress response, it might surprise you to know that theres not any actual connection between high blood pressure and chronic stress. In fact, an 11 year study involving over 35,000 people found no connection between the development of hypertension and ongoing stress or anxiety. Whats stranger is that those who did exhibit higher levels of anxiousness actually had lower blood pressure. Perhaps its just that those who are stressed out dont take proper care of themselves, or skip eating healthy meals for fast food and junk because its easier when youre stressed out from another long day.


Ever heard of mass hysteria? It goes along with the fear that for some reason, the air inside the cabin of an airplane makes you sick. It could be a combination of anxiety, claustrophobia, and other factors, but the myth of airplane air causing illness is just for the birds. In fact, the air in an airplane is probably much safer than that inside your home or office. The air inside a plane cabin is exchanged more frequently than that of an office building, and the fact that its a higher altitude means that there is a lesser chance of bacteria or viruses being present due to lack of humidity. The only real health risk that should be considered in regard to flying is that sitting for long periods can cause blood clots, so be sure to stretch or walk around a bit every hour or so if youre on a longer flight.

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