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Information overload? We answer your most searched health questions

October 14, 2015

It’s no secret that we live in the age of information overload. With the world literally at your fingertips, procuring information has never been easier. But, when it comes to your general health, it’s hard to know which Internet diagnoses to trust and which to toss. We’ve compiled a list of current answers to today’s most searched online health questions.

Is bottled water better for you than tap water?

Bottled waterThere’s not much difference between bottled water and tap water except for the price tag. Bottled water and tap water normally come from the same sources: natural springs, lakes and aquifers. Bottled water is actually more likely to be contaminated than tap water. Public water suppliers are tested for contaminants on a daily basis while bottled water makers are only required to test for contaminants every week, month or year.

 

Is walking as effective as running?

People joggingNot exactly. It takes a significantly longer period of time to walk and burn the same amount of calories as running–therefore it’s hard to say if it’s more effective. While walking is still good for you, one of the most important goals in exercise is building up aerobic conditioning to reduce cardiovascular risk, and walking is not as efficient for cardiovascular aerobic conditioning.

 

Do I need a physical exam every year?

Taking blood pressureIt might be time to re-think the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” While it’s important to have wellness checks from time-to-time, new research has shown there’s not enough evidence that getting an annual physical will prevent major health problems. In fact, it may even lead to the overtreatment of some health conditions and more invasive, costly tests. However, you should not avoid preventative care altogether. It’s still wise to get your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked, and engage with your health care provider about overall healthy lifestyle habits.

 

Are brand name prescriptions better than generic?

Pills and moneyIt’s normal to think that the more expensive a product is, the better it will be. Such is not the case with prescription medications. Generic drugs have the same active ingredients, strength and quality as the brand name versions and must meet the same rigorous FDA standards. However, you should always speak with your health care provider if generic medications aren’t showing results.

 

Will staring at a computer screen ruin your vision?

Man staring at computer screenComputer vision syndrome isn’t something you might read about in a sci-fi novel. It’s very real. The tiny muscles inside of your eyeball that aid in focusing the lens of the eye can grow tired from staring at a single, fixed point from hours on end. When working online, we also tend to blink less, resulting in dry eyes, tearing or a burning sensation–but this condition doesn’t directly result in worsening vision. Eye doctors normally advise people to rely on the 20/20 rule to safeguard their eyesight at work: Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break to look away from the screen and rest your eyes.

 

Can you drink too much water?

Gallon of waterIt’s very possible to drink more water than your body needs, and this problem is most common among elite athletes. Water intoxication, known as drinking an excess of water, dilutes the concentration of sodium in our bloodstream resulting in a condition called hyponatremia. To avoid water intoxication, drink fluids with electrolytes during prolonged or extreme exercise.

 

Can my dentist tell if I don’t floss?

Floss all knotted upThey sure can. And, it’s fairly obvious. People who don’t floss are likely to have more inflammation, or pink and puffy gums between their teeth, which is a dead giveaway. Other common signs of failing to floss are the formation of cavities or the presence of cuts and abrasions to the gums.

 

What vitamins should I be taking?

PillsVitamins and minerals are essential to any healthy lifestyle. If you eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, you’re probably getting the proper intake. However, there are some supplements that can also be beneficial.

— Lauren Thompson

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