Medical Facts Every Lay Person Should Know

Medical facts every lay person should know.

What is normal temperature? Blood pressure? Normal resting pulse? We talk so much about these issues but many of us do not know the answer to these questions. Let us look at some basic medical facts that all laypeople should know.

  1. Let us look at the normal vital signs of adult human beings:


Rectal (most accurate) / Aural (the ear) is 99.6 F / 37.7 C
Oral is 98.6 F / 37 C

Blood pressure: systolic (100-120 mmHg), diastolic (below 80 mm Hg)

Pulse: The normal resting pulse of adults can range between 60-100 beats per minute. This number is seen decreased in athletes.

Blood sugar: For a person without diabetes, a fasting blood sugar on waking up should be under 100 mg/dl. Before-meal normal sugars are 70–99 mg/dl. Sugar level taken two hours after meals should be less than 140 mg/dl.


Total Cholesterol

Good: 200 mg/dL or lower
Borderline: 200 to 239 mg/dL
High: 240 mg/dL or higher


Good: 100 mg/dL or lower
Borderline: 130 to 159 mg/dL
High: 160 mg/dL or higher


Good: 40 mg/dL or higher
Low: 39 mg/dL or lower


Good: 149 mg/dL or lower
Borderline: 150 to 199 mg/dL
High: 200 mg/dL or higher

  1. It is useless to treat a viral infection with antibiotics.
  2. If you have a cough or cold, and are producing yellow or green sputum, you should visit a doctor and be most probably treated with antibiotic. There could be a bacterial infection.
  1. Ibuprofen and aspirin can damage your stomach. In fact most pain killers cause problems in the stomach by interfering with the stomach’s ability to protect itself from the acids produced there.
  1. It is a fact that all medicines have side effects.
  1. Our immune system is very intricate, and can defend the body against many diseases. One of the best ways to ward off diseases is to strengthen your immune system. Learn how to boost your immune system. 
  1. Pain associated with menstruation can usually be dealt with using oral contraceptives. But after three months of using oral contraceptives, if the pain does not go away, you should visit a doctor.
  1. A fracture continues to cause pain whereas a sprain will go away.
  1. If you have a headache that does not go away, see a doctor as soon as possible.
  1. If you have a skin infection, do not treat it with a steroid cream. Steroids may be used for inflammation, but not when a wound is infected.
  1. Psychiatric disorders such as depression are as common as cold and cough. No one needs to be ashamed of it or be hesitant to visit a psychiatrist.
  1. Vaginal odours are usually a sign of infection. Visit a gynecologist as soon as possible.
  1. If you keep yourselves and your surroundings clean and hygienic, your chances of getting sick is much reduced. Wash your hands with soap whenever possible.
  1. Do not rely on medicine for everything. What medicine does most often is just to help relieve the symptoms of a disease.
  1. The relationship between a patient and a doctor is very important. If you do not feel comfortable with your doctor, feel free to see a different one. The same goes for hospitals. If you think the care and treatment in a particular hospital is not adequate, change to another one.
  1. Your psychological health is as important as your physical health. Many diseases that cannot be explained by doctors may be the result of stress. Even physical illnesses such as psoriasis, stomach ulcers, eczema, high blood pressure and heart disease can be brought on psychosomatically.
  1. Every human being should engage in some kind of sport since childhood. This is as important as academics.  Team sports especially is of optimal advantage to children and teenagers as it helps them build self-confidence and social skills, other than improving mental as well as physical health.
  1. A healthy and natural diet is absolutely essential for the overall wellbeing of a person.
  1. If you check online for the symptoms and treatments of our diseases, you may come across many conflicting pieces of advice. It is better to check with your doctor before taking any medicine.
  1. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is the recommended technique for emergencies where a person’s heartbeat or breathing is stopped.
  1. If you are not trained in CPR, provide chest compressions continuously (about 100 a minute) with your hands, till the paramedics arrive.
  1. If the heart stops breathing, the lack of blood flow to the brain will cause brain damage in a few minutes.
  1. If you have a burn, run cold tap water over the skin for 20 minutes. After this, apply a damp, cool towel on the area. Do not treat the burn with butter, oil, egg, or tooth paste. Greasy substances will trap the heat in.
  1. Controlling plaque by teeth cleaning is the most effective way to avoid cavities and serious tooth problems. Brush, floss and use mouth washes that contain fluoride.
  1. Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) can reduce pain and bring down high temperature. It should never be taken with alcohol. The combination can damage the liver.
  1. If you put aspirin on a painful tooth, it will cause mucosal ulceration.
  1. If you eat a heavy meal just before sleep, it can cause gastroesophageal reflux as well as weight gain.
  1. A lot of headaches are the result of not drinking enough water. Research has shown that dehydration affects the brain negatively, affecting mood and concentration levels. Even migraine incidences can be reduced with more water intake.
  1. Fight your cravings for food in between meals by munching on almonds, walnuts, avocadoes, blueberries and dark chocolate. These are known as brain foods, and will not make you fat.
  1. Finally, prevention is better and more effective than cure. A daily routine of healthy diet and good exercise combined with good personal hygiene can ward off most diseases.

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