Five fibs you should never tell your doctor
If your heart starts racing at the thought of your
next doctor's appointment, you're not alone. Doctors
ask questions you may not want to answer. But it's time
to fess up; fibbing can cost you your health.
If you're guilty of telling these common fibs, you're
about to learn the consequences.
I'm not taking any medications
Over-the-counter or Internet purchased supplements,
vitamins and herbs are all items your doctor needs to
"Anything you ingest could affect your health in ways
that you may not suspect," says Michelle Kane, DO,
Virtua family physician who practices in Washington
Township. "If we don't know everything you're taking,
we may run unnecessary tests, prescribe a medication
you don't need, or the supplements could negatively
interact with other medication."
If you're taking non-prescribed medication and
worried about the legal repercussions of divulging
the information, you're protected by doctor/patient
I kicked the smoking habit
You may think you're pulling a fast one on your
doctor by telling him you quit smoking two years
ago, but you're not.
"We can tell if a patient is a smoker when looking
into her nose and throat, listening to the lungs, and
simply smelling her breath," says Jeffery Thomas, MD,
Virtua family physician who practices in Mount Holly.
Fibbing about your smoking habit could lead to a
misdiagnosis of asthma or allergy.
Also, smoking can interfere with medications you
take. For example, smokers on birth control pills are
at an increased risk of developing blood clots, which
can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
I'm a social drinker
Maybe you acknowledge that you drink, but your
doctor needs to know exactly how much.
Alcohol irritates the liver, the organ that aids in
digestion and removes waste products. Over time,
constant irritation can cause cirrhosis, permanently
damaging the liver.
Add in prescribed medications, and you could be
setting yourself up for further complications.
"Alcohol can reduce the effect of medication," says
Dr. Thomas. "It can also increase your risk for seizures
and side effects."
I'm feeling fine; I'm not depressed
Think your bout of the blues is a phase you'll soon
snap out of? Maybe not.
Even mild symptoms of depression can have a
tremendous impact on your life including your
relationships, level of intimacy and motivation to
work. Talking with your doctor about your feelings
can help you get the tools you need to return to
your normal self.
I followed your instructions
Doctors understand you may not be able to follow
their instructions to a "T," but lying about it could
impact your health.
"Sometimes the best treatment for a patient isn't
the easiest for him to follow," say Dr. Kane. "However,
we need to understand patients' obstacles to overcome
Dr. Kane explains if the expense or side effects of
a medication are too much to handle, ask about a
generic option or one with fewer side effects. If you
prefer alternative methods of treatment to prescriptions,
talk with your doctor about the safest approach.
The bottom line is when it comes to your health,
you need to fess up and tell the truth. Anything less
could cost you your health.