When visiting a doctor, whether you are ailing or just a routine check-up, withholding information about a few of your health habits might not seem like a big deal. Patients skirt the truth because they are embarrassed or afraid of being judged. However, if you fudge the truth about your health habits, you could keep your doctor from doing his job well and as a result, can have a serious effect on your overall health, writes Betty Muindi
1. I quit smoking
Lying about smoking can change how your doctor treats you for diseases such as bronchitis. Bronchitis is typically treated more aggressively for smokers, because smoking breaks down protective mechanisms that help non-smokers fight off infections. Also, lying about smoking could change what medications a doctor prescribes. Some medications are not recommended for smokers who are at risk of heart disease, lung disease, and strokes.
2. I rarely drink
Many doctors have no qualms with a drink a day for women and two for men, but many people still lie about drinking altogether. This is bad news when it comes to your overall longevity. Too much alcohol causes weight gain and will cause abnormal liver tests. The doctor always finds out the truth sooner or later, so why lie about it?
3. I work out
Lying to your doctor about exercise can hurt you the most. Saying you exercise doesn’t improve your health, you need to actually do the exercise. It is not hurting the doctor’s feelings if you don’t take her advice, but it can hurt your health. Physical activity is one of the most important parts of staying healthy and boosting your longevity. If you are avoiding being active because a certain condition keeps you from traditional forms of exercise, this is the perfect time for your doctor to help recommend alternatives that you may have never considered and are doable.
4. I do not take over-the-counter medicine
Whether you’re popping prescription painkillers, over-the-counter medicine or taking illicit drugs, you need to tell your doctor. Drugs can pose tremendous risks to your body, including elevated blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. It’s understandable that it’s a hard truth to tell. It is crucial for your doctor to see the full picture in order to give you the right treatment and avoid dangerous drug interactions.
5. I don’t skip any of my medications
The common flip side of lying about medication is not being honest about taking the medication your doctor did actually prescribe. If you stopped your medicines for any reason, it’s important to say so. Tell your doctor if you have concerns about the medication you take. He needs to know about any side effects you have been having or if you stopped taking it because it is too expensive, he may be able to prescribe a generic.
6. I’m a healthy eater
When you don’t eat right, you only harm yourself. But when you lie about it, you make it harder for your doctor to determine what is actually wrong with you. If you have a condition such as type two diabetes where certain foods directly affect your symptoms, you are unnecessarily putting yourself at risk for serious health complications. Besides, many doctors aren’t fooled by this in the first place. They are professionals in that area.
7. I have no sexual problems
Your sexuality and the number of partners you have might be a topic you would rather not discuss with someone in a white coat. But there can be serious long-term consequences for you and your sexual partners if sexually transmitted diseases aren’t addressed. What’s more, if you have a lower libido than usual or trouble maintaining an erection, your doctor is actually the best person to tell. Your physician can help you determine the potential causes of a low sex drive or erectile dysfunction and prescribe medication or other solutions.
8. I am too sick
Patients sometimes exaggerate or downplay symptoms, but not being truthful about your symptoms can result in needless testing or prevent your doctor from getting to a solution quickly and directly. It doesn’t do anyone any good not to inform the doctor about what’s really going on.
9. I’m not sure when my symptoms started
This might not be less of a lie and more of something you truly haven’t thought about, but the duration of your symptoms is an important factor in your treatment. Something that’s been going on for a long time probably isn’t as significant as an acute problem that is building in intensity and needs to be handled much quickly.
10. I have no family history of that disease
Lying or forgetting to disclose your family history of a disease is another way to sabotage your health and longevity down the road. Most times, history is destined to repeat itself. Although you can’t change your family history, your doctors can use that information to keep an eye out for specific symptoms and catch a problem when it’s more manageable.