The Top 5 Medical Conditions that Sound Much Worse Than They Actually Are

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It can be frightening to learn that you or a loved one has a named medical condition. For some people, a specific diagnosis of the causes underlying their symptoms may come as a relief; for other people, positive identification of any health-related issue can magnify its apparent severity. For example, would you rather have a bruise on your leg, or have a contusion? Would you rather have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep, or be labeled an insomniac? Even if you fear the doctor’s office, you needn’t worry much if you’re diagnosed with one of these five conditions, because they sound a lot worse than they are.

5 Halitosis

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If you have halitosis, you might want to pop a few mints before your next job interview, but you don’t need to worry about popping any medicine, because halitosis simply refers to bad breath. Now, don’t get us wrong, bad breath can seriously mess up your social and professional life, but it’s rarely does much damage to you in the medical sense of things, though sometimes halitosis can be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, so don’t write it off entirely. But of its own accord, halitosis stinks and nothing more!

4 Epistaxis

This patient is suffering from an obvious case of epistaxis! Quick, nurse, get him three sheets of tissue paper! And tilt his head back for three or four minutes. That’s right: “epistaxis” is the proper medical term for a nosebleed. Your epistasis issue could be caused by anything from dry skin to chronic picking to a basketball rebound gone awry—no matter how your nasal blood flow gets flowing, the diagnosis is epistaxis.

3 Oral Herpes Simplex

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Focus on the last word there with the root “simple” and don’t get too worried about the whole herpes thing. Because while the issue at hand (or rather at lip, usually) in this case is related to the much more serious sexually transmitted disease known simply as herpes, what we’re talking about here are cold sores. Yes, once you have the herpes simplex virus in your system, it may be a lifelong companion, but the worst damage it is liable to do is causing occasional unsightly, sometimes mildly painful sores near the mouth.

2 Androgenic Alopecia

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This might sound like some horrible genetic issue that will leave you wheelchair bound or in need of bone marrow transplants or whatever else your imagination whips up… but don’t worry: even those with the very worst cases of this condition can be treated with a simple hat. Indeed the condition’s name does refer to a genetic trait that you will likely inherit and pass on, but all androgenic alopecia will do is make you lose your hair. See, it’s also known as Male Pattern Baldness.

1 Exploding Head Syndrome

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Were this condition what its name meant in the literal sense, then it would be the most horrifying diagnosis on earth. As it is, though, people afflicted with this condition experience what can be thought of as an auditory hallucination: they “hear” a loud sound, usually akin to an actual explosion, as if it had really happened. The imagined explosions are usually painless, though unpleasant and often interrupt sleep cycles. But compared to one’s head actually exploding, this condition is remarkably benign.

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