November 21, 2018
Telling a little white lie every now and then is generally a forgivable offense, but when it comes to your health, honesty is the best policy. From minimizing your symptoms to omitting important details, what may seem like a harmless fib can sometimes lead to negative health outcomes down the line.
Whether out of shame, guilt, or fear, many people lie to their doctors, especially when it comes to the following five habits.
Reporting accurate information to your doctor about your diet is an important practice for everyone to adopt, but it is especially crucial for those suffering from diabetes, high cholesterol, or obesity. It is not uncommon for those with diabetes or other weight-related conditions to lie about their saturated fat or processed sugar consumption, even when their lab results tell a different story. Coming clean about your diet can help your doctor make necessary adjustments to your medication or recommend lifestyle changes that will minimize the risk of complications.
Taking illicit drugs or prescribed medication meant for someone else or skipping doses of a prescribed medication is a common, yet highly unhealthy habit. Misusing prescription painkillers or other drugs can pose dangerous risks to your body, including addiction, increased blood pressure, heart attack, seizures, or stroke. As uncomfortable as it may be, tell your doctor the truth about whatever pills, medication, or other drugs you’re taking. This can help them get the full picture of your health so they can determine the safest and most effective treatment plan for you while also avoiding any harmful drug interactions.
Many patients downplay their alcohol consumption. Rather than underestimating your true intake, be upfront with your doctor. This can help them explain and understand abnormal test results or unusual symptoms and ensure you get proper treatment for your condition. Lab results will usually reveal the truth about your health, so it’s best to be honest. Don’t worry about being judged by your doctor, they want to know about your drinking habits so that they can help you achieve your optimal mental and physical health.
Much like alcohol, many patients bend the truth about how much they smoke or about quitting smoking. One study revealed that 1 in 10 smokers admitted to lying to their health care provider about their smoking habit. This ultimately does a disservice to both you and your doctor, as it doesn’t give a clear picture of your well-being. Smoking increases your risk for things like lung disease, heart conditions, and stroke, and your doctor should know about potential behaviors contributing to that risk.
Physical activity is one of the most important ways to stay healthy and boost longevity, yet many patients are less than honest about how much exercise (if any) they’re getting. Be honest with your doctor about how much you work out, so you can work together to come up with an exercise plan that's right for you.
One of the best ways to get the most out of your next appointment is to find a doctor and talk to them honestly about your health. When you and your doctor have an open, honest line of communication, you can work together toward positive, healthy outcomes.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information on this web site is for general information purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or health care provider on any matters relating to your health.