Here’s proof that you can’t believe everything you hear (or thought you knew) about health. Excerpted from the new Medical Myths That Can Kill You: And the 101 Truths That Will Save, Extend, and Improve Your Life ($25, Crown) by Nancy Snyderman, MD, chief medical editor for NBC News:
Myth: Annual checkups are useless
Truth: It’s a great idea to see your doctor yearly and have a checkup tailored to your history, needs, and concerns. How else would you discover a hidden health problem?
Myth: Storing meds in the bathroom is smart
Truth: Drugs age prematurely from the humidity and temperature swings in the room where you shower. Keep all oral medications in a cool, dry place, like an upper shelf in your hall closet.
Myth: Pain pills are only for people in pain
Truth: Popping a nonprescription medicine like ibuprofen or acetaminophen right before you exercise (or just before you have period cramps) can stave off a lot of the usual discomfort.
Myth: Thin people don’t get heart disease
Truth: Regardless of their weight, some people inherit risks for high cholesterol, a key driver of heart disease. Even if your weight is under control, get your cholesterol checked regularly.
Myth: Stress causes cancer
Truth: A big study in The Lancet found no evidence of any such thing. Stress can, however, make you more prone to colds, headaches, and gastrointestinal problems. And limiting it can help lower your blood pressure.