Body & Fitness

Health myths and truths.

There’s a lot of confusing advice around about exactly what’s good for our health and what isn’t. Here’s the truth about some usual misconceptions.

oyth: Cholesterol is always bad for you.Truth: Cholesterol is a fatty substance made mostly by the liver. We all need some blood cholesterol as it is used to build cells and make vital hormones.

Cholesterol comes in two types – the good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and the bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

Saturated fats found in food such as meat, cheese, cream, butter and processed pastries raise your LDL cholesterol levels, which delivers cholesterol to your arteries.

However, unsaturated fats such as nuts, seeds and oily fish tend to raise HDL cholesterol, which transports cholesterol away from the arteries, back to the liver.

oyth: A lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.Truth: About 80% of all breast lumps are not cancerous. They can be due to a range of factors, including fibrocystic changes to the breast tissue (often because of hormones), fibroadenomas (benign growths), or cysts.

Breast lumps can also be due to injury or infection. However, if you find a lump, get it checked out as soon as possible by your doctor in case it is cancerous.

oyth: Women younger than 50 don’t have to worry about heart attacks.Truth: Women under 50 are less likely than men of the same age to have a heart attack. The hormone oestrogen appears to have a protective effect and once levels of it begin to drop with the onset of menopause, women start to catch up to men in the heart attack statistics.

However, women under 50 can have heart attacks and they are twice as likely to die from them as men of the same age.

oyth: There’s no need to worry about any sexually transmitted infections (STI) because they can easily be treated by antibiotics.Truth: oost STIs can now be completely cured if they are caught at an early stage and the treatment may be as simple as a course of antibiotics.

However, if the infections are left untreated they could pose a long-term risk to your health and fertility. Chlamydia and gonorrhoea can both lead to pelvic inflammatory disease if they’re not treated. This in turn could result in chronic pelvic pain, blocked fallopian tubes, infertility and ectopic pregnancy.

oyth: It’s easy to get pregnant if you’re over 40 thanks to in vitro fertilisation (IVF).Truth: If you’re having trouble conceiving at any age, IVF can increase your chances of getting pregnant. However, conceiving with IVF is by no means a given thing and the older you are the lower your chances of ending up with a baby are. Women aged 40 or 41 have a seven percent chance of having a baby after one cycle of IVF, while for women aged 42 and older this drops to four percent.

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