21 health lessons from Trust Me, I’m a Doctor

The BBC ran an excellent series of three episodes called Trust Me, I’m a Doctor. You can dig into their conclusions here. Here are the take away lessons from it:

1. Body Mass Index or body fat count don’t say much about your health. How fit and active you are does.

2. It doesn’t matter what you use to wash your hands. It’s how you wash your hands that matters.

3. Deep sleep is the key to consolidating memories and needs to be achieved in 24 hours. Catching up on the weekend doesn’t help.

4. No need to drink 2 litres of water every day. Just drink when you’re thirsty and you’ll be fine.

5. CPR doesn’t need mouth to mouth resuscitation. Keep it going and the ideal beat is to match it with the song Stayin’ Alive (not kidding).

6. The evidence on benefits of eating aspirin, if you’ve not had a heart attack, is small and may not outweigh risk.

7. Ultrasound can be used to burn parts of the brain to get rid of a Parkinson’s tremor.

8. Sleeping 7.5 hours day reduces chances of diabetes and improves our immunity.

9. Vitamin supplements are a waste, unless you’re a strict vegetarian, a kid or a pregnant woman.

10. Diagnostics tests, most of them, are unnecessary if you don’t have an illness.

11. Over 55, the benefits of statins may outweigh risks. If side-effects appear, consider other statins or give them up.

12. Standing 3 to 4 hours a day is equivalent to running 10 or more marathons run per year.

13. Probiotics doesn’t make any difference to our long-term health.

14. Instead, a morning of 100g oats might help improve the number of bacteria that produce healthy effects.

15. Treat smoothies as a treat, not a healthy snack. Most have more sugar than an equivalent amount of coke.

16. For migraines: avoid triggers, follow a standard sleep pattern, and when an attack occurs hit ‘em with high dose of painkillers. One solution may be to get a botox treatment.

17. Nasal sprays are better than anti-histamine for hay fever. Ensure that anti-histamine, if you take them, don’t cause drowsiness. Another option is to take immunosuppressant therapy.

18. There is no evidence that coffee can be good or bad for our long-term health (unless you’re pregnant, then it is bad).

19. The evidence of Hormone Replacement Therapy helping women with severe menopausal effects is strong. But there are risks which need to be considered more carefully on a case by case basis.

20. Cracking your knuckles isn’t linked to arthritis.

21. A line of trees in front of the street outside your house could cut particulate matter population by as much as 50%.

Here are links to lessons I learnt from the 2014 series and the 2015 series of “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor”.