We’ve all told little white lies in our lives, but when dealing with your physician, an omission of the truth could cause serious risks to your health. Many times the questions raised by your doctors could be embarrassing to you, but without full disclosure of your health practices and your body’s current state, your doctor will be unable to diagnose you fully, may misdiagnose you or not diagnose you at all when you have a serious health problem. The following are common problem topics that people lie to their doctors about.
1. Bad habits
Whether it’s drinking, smoking, drugs, junk food or poor exercise, your doctor needs to have the facts about your bad habits. For obvious reasons, people with alcohol, drug or smoking habits often lie to their doctors – at their own peril. Bad habits like tobacco, drugs and alcohol cause a variety of illnesses and if your doctor doesn’t know your involvement with substance abuse, he/she stands a good chance of missing something that could be serious.
Poor eating and exercise habits are a problem area, too. If your health isn’t improving because of your diet and exercise, yet your doctor believes you are making healthier choices, you may be diagnosed with illnesses you don’t have. A related issue to this is whether you are following your doctor’s orders when it comes to taking medications. If you are bad at taking medications when you are supposed to, tell your doctor so he/she doesn’t set you on a new and unnecessary course of treatment. Bottom line is, you need to fess up to your physician.
2. The error of omission
Although we are taught as children in stories like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” that constantly raising the alarm over our issues is a bad thing, it is your duty to your doctor to inform him/her of anything that might be a problem. Small bumps on the skin, minor irritations in the stomach, occasional soreness can sound, or even feel, relatively benign, however, these slight symptoms can be signs of the start something serious that could be taken care of easily if caught in time. Be honest with your doctor about even minor discomforts – it could save your life.
3. Private matters
There are certain issues related to health that we are all uncomfortable with – anything dealing with sex or excrement. These taboo subjects may be off-limits in polite society, but in your doctor’s office, you need to be up front and honest about any issues dealing with these subjects. For example, problems with erectile dysfunction could be a symptom of something more sever like prostrate cancer. Severe infections can also cause irregular or painful urinating or bowel movements, but doctor won’t be able to help you deal with these health issues if you are too embarrassed to tell him/her about your discomfort. Remember, doctors have seen it all and studied worse at medical school, there is nothing shocking or embarrassing to them when it comes to people’s health issues.
4. Emotional rescue
We assume that our doctors are like mechanics, there to fix problems with the workings of bodies as if our bodies were machines. Rarely do we bring up problems with the driver. Discussing our emotional problems with other people is difficult to do; however, doctors need every bit of information about your well being to make an honest assessment of your health. Depression and stress are root causes of many health problems and your doctor needs to know your mental health so he/she can monitor your health accordingly.
5. Alternative medicine
There is a movement around the world to try and cure or prevent illness with alternative medicines and practices such as herbs, massage, chiropractic adjustments and a wide variety of other non-conventional health practices. When visiting a doctor of the more common school of Western medicine, don’t be embarrassed to tell your doctor about any alternative medicines you practice. The Western doctor may not believe that your practices will do much good compared to his/her medical approach, but it is likely that he/she will be glad that you take an interest in your health. Also, in the case that you are taking herbal supplements, your doctor needs to be aware of which ones you use in case they react badly with medicines, he/