Sixteen important but not widely known medical facts
Physician's Weekly
July 25, 2023
Sixteen important but not widely known medical facts

The information shared herein was obtained from quality evidence-based clinical studies that have been peer-reviewed, esteemed universities of medicine and, or, highly respected medical guidelines.

Women DO NOT need a PAP smear every year

The recommendations regarding PAP smears are:

  • Women should begin having PAP smears at age 21 (once they have had vaginal sex) and every 3 years after that.
  • From age 30, as an alternative to 3 yearly PAP smears, women can have a PAP smear combined with HPV antigen testing every 5 years.
  • One can cease PAP smears at 65 if the last 3 were normal.

 Hair dyes and chemical hair straighteners are seriously harming our women

A landmark study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, showed that Black women who used permanent hair dyes and those who chemically straightened their hair significantly increased their chances of developing breast cancer.

Bedsores SHOULD NOT be cleaned with caustic cleaning agents

Bedsores should ONLY be cleaned with water or normal saline at the time of the dressing change. Substances like hydrogen peroxide, iodine, surgical alcohol, and other caustic cleaning agents kill healthy cells within the wound, ultimately slowing healing.

 Nighttime is the best time to take blood pressure meds

Studies show that for the best blood pressure control and to significantly reduce the chances of heart disease and stroke, blood pressure medications should be taken at night.

Iron supplements are rarely needed in men or post-menopausal women

Men and older women who are iron deficient, the specific reason for the anaemia needs to be identified. The routine consumption of iron supplements in older persons who are not iron deficient can result in liver damage, heart disease, diabetes, and accelerated dementia.

Garlic should be avoided by persons with lupus

Johns Hopkins University reports that systemic lupus patients who consumed garlic (an immune system stimulant) were more likely to have flare-ups of their lupus.

 ECG/ EKG should not be part of a routine annual medical

A routine ECG/ EKG confers little benefit to low-risk patients without symptoms.

 Being unable to balance on one leg for 10 seconds or more can spell trouble

The inability to balance on one leg for 10 seconds or more, especially in those over 50, is associated with an increased risk of death from any cause within 10 years. A synopsis of exercises that persons with balancing issues can do, to improve their balance, and by extension, their life expectancy.

  • Standing with feet 18-24 inches apart. Shift your weight from one leg to the other. On any given foot hold your weight as long as possible before shifting the weight to the other leg.
  • Walk sideways, with knees slightly bent, in either direction for 10 steps.
  • Do heel-to-toe walks. Stand next to a wall or counter for stability.
  • Try balancing on one leg for as long as possible. Alternate.
  • Do squats. Start next to a wall.

 Panadol/ paracetamol/ Tylenol, acetaminophen should be taken without food

A number of studies have shown that food slows and reduces absorption. So they are best taken on an empty stomach.

 H.Pylori eradication can save your life

H.Pylori stomach infections can cause stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Four weeks after treatment for H. Pylori infection one should have a stool antigen test or urea breath test to ensure its eradication.

Mammograms for women under the age of 40 are not recommended

Women under the age of 40 have dense breasts so a mammogram is not a good tool for the early detection of breast cancer in these women.

A dengue IgM antibody test shortly after the onset of symptoms is useless

Dengue IgM antibodies in the blood are indicative of a recent dengue infection. However, IgM antibodies may take up to 7 days after the onset of symptoms to be detectable. Hence, a negative dengue IgM result before day 7 cannot definitively rule out dengue.

Vaginal bleeding after menopause requires tissue analysis

A woman is considered to be in menopause once she has not had a period for 12 consecutive months. After this time, any vaginal bleeding requires the sampling of the endometrium (womb’s lining) and analysis by a pathologist to rule out uterine/ endometrial cancer.

Exercise reduces the chances of developing cancer

Regular exercise reduces the risk of developing cancer of the breast, prostate, colon, uterus (endometrium), and possibly pancreas.

Lie on your right side if you need medicine to start working rapidly

Lying on your right side for 30-45 minutes after ingesting medicine by mouth ensures that it is rapidly absorbed.

Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are not recommended

Some examples of PPIs include omeprazole, Alocid, pantoprazole, and Nexium. Long-term use increases the chances of kidney disease, dementia, osteoporosis, and stomach cancer in persons with the H. Pylori infection.

Author: Dr. C. Malcolm Grant – Family Physician, c/o Family Care Clinic, Arnos Vale. For appointments: 1(784)570-9300 (Office), 1(784)455-0376 (WhatsApp)

Disclaimer: The information provided in the above article is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you are seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Dr. C. Malcolm Grant, Family Care Clinic or The Searchlight Newspaper or their associates, respectively, are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information provided above.