Important but Not Widely Known Medical Facts
Physician's Weekly
March 5, 2024
Important but Not Widely Known Medical Facts

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

Being overweight increases the chances of developing a range of cancers

Cancers that overweight and obese individuals are predisposed to include breast, prostate, colon/rectal, uterine, pancreatic, kidney, oesophageal, gallbladder, and liver. About 8 percent of all cancers are obesity-related.

Fast food is detrimental to your and your children’s health

Fast food is inherently unhealthy because most of its offerings have excessive calories, salt, saturated fat, trans fats, sugar, and artificial ingredients. Fast food is generally low in nutrients.
Those who consume fast foods have an increased chance of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Children who frequently consumed fast food were found to perform suboptimally academically.

Ultra Processed foods are unhealthy and shorten life expectancy

Ultra-processed foods are often made in factories and contain unhealthy additives not found in your kitchen. A few examples include ice cream, cereals, instant soups, artificially flavoured foods, syrups, jams, chips, burgers, pepperoni, ham, bacon, luncheon meat, corned beef, sausages, and nuggets. Consuming ultra-processed foods regularly increases one’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, a range of cancers, obesity, and dementia.

In many instances, a hysterectomy is not required

Hysterectomies, where the womb (uterus) is surgically removed, are most often performed because of heavy periods (mostly as a result of fibroids), pelvic pain, endometriosis, adenomyosis, antibiotic-resistant pelvic inflammatory disease, a prolapsed uterus, and gynaecological cancers. Other than for cancer and uncontrollable uterine bleeding, a hysterectomy may not be necessary. In many instances, there are alternatives to a hysterectomy. Such as watchful waiting – especially in the case of fibroids, hormone treatments, pain-relieving medications, NSAIDs (eg. mefenamic acid), or less invasive surgical procedures – for example, hysteroscopic myomectomy for sub-endometrial fibroids.

Second hand smoke can be deadly

Persons who do not smoke but are exposed to cigarette smoke, i.e. second hand smoke, are more prone to heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, sudden death, premature labour, and low birth weight babies.

Chronic constipation increases the risk of developing dementia

A study published in 2023 has revealed that persons who took three days or more to have a bowel movement, over an extended period, were more likely to develop dementia.

Sitting too long is harmful to your health

Those with desk jobs often sit for 7-8 hours on any work day. Such persons are mostly oblivious to the fact that protracted sitting can predispose them to weight gain, back pain, clots in the legs (DVTs), muscle wasting, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, a range of cancers, and premature death.

Chest X-rays are ineffective for detecting lung cancer early

Studies have shown that screening chest X-rays do not improve longevity, even if lung cancer is detected. A low-dose lung CT Scan is a far better option for screening for lung cancer in current and former smokers.

Sleeping on your left side can improve health and longevity

Sleeping on either side reduces the severity of obstructive sleep apnea and chronic back pain.
However, studies have shown those who sleep on their left side experienced reduced reflux/heartburn, improved bowel function, improved drainage of their lymphatic system, and improved heart and brain health.

Healthy people benefit from regular medical check-ups

A check-up can save your life. For it allows a doctor to detect a disease in an early state, facilitating timely intervention. Between 18-39, check-ups should be done every 2-3 years. Every 1-2 years between 40-49. Yearly after the age of 50.

Exercise is an effective antidepressant

Many scientific studies have shown that exercise works as well as antidepressants and counselling in treating depression. Brisk walking and other forms of exercise of similar intensity, for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, induce chemical and structural brain changes that mitigate depression.

Go easy on the benzodiazepines

Valium (diazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), and Xanax (alprazolam) are some of the more commonly prescribed benzodiazepines. These are often prescribed for insomnia, anxiety, panic disorder, muscle spasms, and seizures. Their long-term use can result in addiction, depression, memory impairment, and dementia. Addiction can occur in as little as 3 weeks. Long-term use is defined as using benzodiazepines for 3 months or more.

MRIs can play an important role in the management of prostate cancer

The MRI is an excellent tool for detecting prostate cancer. A normal MRI of the prostate, even when the PSA is marginally elevated, can save the patient from undergoing unnecessary prostate biopsies and being exposed to possible complications from this procedure. On the other hand, if the MRI uncovers a suspicious area within the prostate, the urologist can then perform a targeted biopsy on the prostate.

 Author: Dr. C. Malcolm Grant – Family Physician, Family Care Clinic, Arnos Vale. Former tutor in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados.
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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.