Myths can steer people toward illness, hardship and even death. From tetanus shots to colonoscopies, it’s very easy to spread misinformation that the average person can’t always readily distinguish from the truth.
What are some of the most common medical myths that may be sabotaging your health?
Myth 1: Doctors don’t play favorites.
What is one of the greatest threat in people’s lives when it comes to their health? A lack of assertiveness with doctors and other medical personnel.
Experts agree that as patients, we like to believe that physicians treat everyone with equal care and concern, but they don’t. There are inherent biases in health care, whether it’s racism or sexism or ageism.
Such discrimination means some groups of patients get shortchanged when they most need the best care.
For example, obese women often receive inadequate doses of chemotherapy because doctors discount them for being overweight.
The solution? People should see as many different physicians as possible until they find one who takes their complaints seriously and shows dedication to healing them. They also need to speak up and insist on attention and care from doctors and nurses.
When it comes to navigating the health care system, hesitance and embarrassment are not conducive to good health. If you feel you need the support, feel free to bring someone with you who you can trust to speak for you.
Myth 2: You can skip annual check-ups.
Wrong! Times have become confusing as every few months or so, new medical news comes out saying you no longer need to worry about certain annual exams, such as pap smears. However, you should still visit a primary care doctor every year and ensure that their services and tests are tailored to your sex, age and risks based on family history.
Most doctors also still stress the importance of routine checks, such as blood pressure and urinalysis, which help detect problems before they turn into crises.
Because many of us forget to schedule yearly exams, pick a memorable date, like your birthday, to make the appointment.
Myth 3: Adults don’t need shots.
Sorry, but shots are not just for kids. Some 70,000 U.S. adults die every year from causes that vaccinations could have prevented.
Many of us think that once we’ve completed the childhood series of shots for polio, measles and the like, we’re done. But we may need tetanus booster shots, human papillomavirus (HPV) injections to prevent cervical cancer, and even a vaccine against meningitis, a deadly bacterial infection of the brain that tends to strike on college campuses.