Myths about women’s health abound in the information age, especially about weight loss, breast cancer and heart disease. Part of the confusion is that these women’s health concerns are fairly static, but the advice always seems to be changing.
Myths have a nasty habit of spreading faster than authentic research findings. Let me clarify: I’m talking about myths as untruthful information here, not myths as delightful stories we cozy up to read on a rainy day. Most of the time, myths spread because they reinforce what we want to believe.
This is doubly true in the mommy blogging community, which fades in and out between journalism and personal opinion. I recently scanned through my favorite women’s blogs and was saddened to see some persistent myths crop up for three of the top health concerns for women: heart disease, breast cancer and staying in shape. Check out these myths, which are followed by related scientific findings.
MYTH 1: Heart disease is a man’s disease.
Most women do not realize that heart disease is the most serious health concern for women. The truth will get your heart racing: one in two women die from cardiovascular disease. A large part of this trend is due to the lack of early detection of women’s high cholesterol or artery health.
The good news is that a new survey method is available for women’s coronary health concerns. Called the Reynolds Risk Score, this diagnostic tool more accurately predicts a woman’s risk of heart attack and stroke.
MYTH 2: Exercise is the fastest way to lose weight.
This myth about weight loss is more of a half-truth. The fact is, walking or jogging for a mile burns about 100 calories. But, guess what? Sitting in a comfortable chair burns about 60 calories. Moderate exercise is only moderately good for losing weight. To really get results, moderate exercise should be complemented with a healthy diet.
Actually, it’s best to think about exercise as a way of toning what you’ve got, rather than as a way to achieve weight loss. In a related study, researchers at the University of Connecticut have recently discovered how weight training is great for women. Long-term weight training does more than tone; it’s good for bone and metabolic health. Healthy bones means less osteoporosis later in life. And by raising metabolic levels, tissue reduction in old age is greatly reduced.
MYTH 3: Birth control pills increase the risk of breast cancer.
This pervasive myth has been around for over a decade. I even saw someone repeat it in a blog comment just last week. Truthfully, many studies have published results showing no link between “the pill” and breast cancer. Also, birth control pills actually reduce the risk of ovarian and uterine cancers.
An exciting related finding is that eating mushrooms can reduce the risk of breast cancer. Mushrooms? Yes, it’s true. Mushrooms interfere with the production of an enzyme that makes too much of the hormone estrogen. Estrogen is exactly what feeds many breast cancers. By eating 100 grams of mushrooms a day, whether they are white buttons or delicious shitakes, estrogen production is reduced to almost half.
So, despite the wealth of information on the Internet, it’s important to realize that myths about women’s health abound. A few Internet authority sites have emerged that sort through the dizzying array of new findings about women’s health issues. Sites such as [ and are excellent resources to find out about the most common health issues for women.
In general, always make it a practice to notice conflicting sources of information. Sometimes both are right, but are emphasizing different points. By keeping a critical perspective when visiting web forums and discussion boards, you can find excellent advice from the Internet’s storehouse.
Don’t take my word for it: research women’s health concerns by relying on authority sites and government pages. And, of course, always consult your doctor.
Source by Barbara Garrison