I’m so glad that I got a facebook page. If only because it’s quickly becoming a better source for blog fodder than Dr Oz. Okay, okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. Regardless, there’s a wealth of health misinformation floating around around on there.
Take this post, for example. It purports to be information coming from the Mayo Clinic and tells people that they can reduce the risk of heart attack by drinking a glass of water just before going to bed for the night. Too good to be true? You bet! Now, most of us could probably stand to consume more water on a regular basis so I really don’t want to discourage you (no not you, I know that you get plenty!) from drinking water. However, I don’t like people thinking that a glass of water before bed is the ultimate in heart attack prevention.
There is no information on the Mayo Clinic website advising people to drink water before bedtime to prevent a heart attack. Moreover, there is no scientific research to support this claim.
The article also makes three additional claims about the optimal times to consume water in order to help certain health conditions:
2 glasses of water after waking up – helps activate internal organs
1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal – helps digestion
1 glass of water before taking a bath – helps lower blood pressure
1 glass of water before going to bed – avoids stroke or heart attack
This is all a lot of hooey. Want to know the optimal times to drink water: when you’re thirsty, when you’ve been sweating a considerable amount, and when you’re sleepy and want to be alert.
Want to “activate internal organs”? Avoid death or becoming a zombie. You’re good to go! Want to help digestion? Avoid consuming extremely large meals. Want to lower blood pressure? Avoid stroke or heart attack? Get plenty of exercise, avoid sitting for prolonged periods, consume a healthy, primarily plant-based diet.
The post goes on to mention additional advice about aspirin use for heart attacks. It references a Dr. Virend Somers at the Mayo Clinic. Google his name and the first thing that comes up is this post on the Mayo Clinic website:
We have been informed of a recently circulated email regarding the use of aspirin, which included mention of Dr. Virend Somers and of Mayo Clinic. Neither Dr. Somers nor Mayo Clinic contributed to this email, which contains some information that is inaccurate and potentially harmful. We recommend that you speak with your physician if you have specific questions.
This was posted back in 2010! Clearly this misinformation has been making the rounds for some time. I would like to echo the Mayo Clinic’s advice: if you are concerned about heart disease risk, or any other medical condition, go see your doctor. Definitely don’t accept unsolicited advice from facebook.