Ever wondered whether it's really unsafe to mix alcohol and antibiotics or whether that niggling headache is the first sign of a brain tumour? We uncover some of the biggest medical myths…
Having sex can cause middle-aged men to have a heart attack
This is completely untrue, so all of those 50-somethings out there can sigh with relief. Research shows that the chances of a 50-year-old male smoker suffering a heart attack is about one in a million in any given hour. Add sex into the equation and this doubles to two in a million but even though the odds are now doubled, the risk is still minimal.
High blood pressure causes headaches
False. High blood pressure (hypertension) usually has no symptoms at all, so headaches certainly aren't a cause.
Diabetics crave sugar
It is true that diabetics have to alter their sugar intake and that they sometimes require an instant sugar fix if their blood glucose becomes too low, but they do not crave sugar. Rather, they require it in order to maintain their blood sugar levels.
A change of diet cuts cholesterol
A healthy diet is a good idea but it won't do much on its own when you're trying to lower your cholesterol. At best, a dietary change may contribute to a 10-percent reduction in cholesterol. The reason? Most cholesterol is made by your liver, with little contribution from your food intake. [However, a low-fat diet can have an impact on how much cholesterol your liver creates.]
Headaches alone can be a sign of a brain tumour
This is a complete myth. Brain tumours almost always produce a host of other symptoms, such as fits, personality change and unsteadiness.
You shouldn't mix alcohol and antibiotics
Another myth drinking when taking antibiotics is safe, unless you're taking the antibiotic metronidazole. Metronidazole is an antibiotic used to treat a variety of infections that when mixed with even small amounts of booze can cause vomiting.
Tiredness may be caused by anaemia
Tiredness is common and unless accompanied by other symptoms it is probably caused by lifestyle issues such as not enough sleep, stress and lack of exercise.