Going Online for Health and Other News

by DavalosMcCormack on February 12, 2008

More and more people are going online to get health information. It’s easy to find, but is it any good, is it accurate? Well, a new study says much of it is reliable, at least as far as breast cancer goes.

Researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas surfed the web to look at 343 websites that specialize in covering breast cancer. They found that overall the sites were accurate, and reliable. They found that only one in 20 websites featured inaccurate information, which is a pretty good ratio.

There was one big exception. The researchers found that sites focusing on alternative or complementary approaches to breast cancer were 15 times more likely to contain false or misleading information.

Getting health information online is always a matter of ‘caveat emptor’, but this study suggests that at least with breast cancer you don’t have to “caveat” quite as much as you might with other health issues.

Forget Health, Pass the Salt!

Getting diagnosed with high blood pressure is no small thing. Hypertension can put you at risk for heart disease, stroke, and death, so you should take it seriously. Yet a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine says only a relatively small number of patients diagnosed with high blood pressure are doing the things they need to keep it under control.

One of the most effective ways of controlling high blood pressure is through the so-called DASH diet. That stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Basically it involves eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, and low in fat and sodium or salt, to control blood pressure. It’s very effective, yet this latest study found that fewer than 20 percent of patients were following it. That’s seven percent fewer than were following it more than a decade ago.

So while we know more about what we need to do to stay healthy we’re doing it less. And the ones who were most likely to benefit from it, the severely overweight, are the ones least likely to follow the DASH diet. It’s enough to make a doctor turn to drink – which does have some heart healthy qualities.. but that’s a whole different story.

Starting Young for Heart Disease

Heart disease is not just a problem for people over 50. A new study finds that many younger people are also at risk. It’s a finding that has health experts worried we may be heading for a real problem in the decades to come.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic and University of Vancouver in British Columbia looked at the autopsies of young adults in one Minnesota county who died in accidents, from murder or suicide. They found 83 percent of the young adults already had some heart disease at the time of their death, and in more than 8 percent of cases they had seriously blocked arteries.

The researchers say it’s worrying and could mean that a more than 40 year decline in heart disease is coming to an end.

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