Experts say that a lot of us need to be more honest with our doctors. A recent study found that 1 in 3 of us omit or falsify the information we tell them, even though it puts our health, and our lives, at risk. So, here are 4 things your doctor needs to know, even if mentioning them makes you uncomfortable:
First: Any vitamins you’re taking. A lot of supplements and herbal remedies can pose serious dangers to people with medical conditions. In fact, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology lists more than 2 dozen products that should be avoided by anyone with heart disease, including ginseng and St. John’s wort.
You also need to tell your doctor when you get a second opinion. New York University Medical School professor Dr. Richard Stein says that a lot of people feel uncomfortable telling one doctor that they saw another, because they don’t want to seem disloyal. But your goal is to get good healthcare, not to spare your doctor’s feelings. Plus, sharing the results can start a dialogue that could save you the extra time and expense for unnecessary or duplicate tests.
Almost everyone fudges the truth on this one: Not following the doctor’s advice. Women’s health expert Dr. Nieca Goldberg says that patients often lie about things like exercising and taking medications. But that can lead doctors to misdiagnose problems, or to prescribe larger doses of meds for things like blood pressure, which could lead to unnecessary and dangerous side effects.
And finally: You need to let your doctor know if you’re going through hard times. Barbara Korsch is the author of The Intelligent Patient's Guide. And she says that things like layoffs, job stress, and divorce can raise blood pressure, and even increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other serious conditions.
Bottom line: If you feel uncomfortable talking with your doctor, don’t lie to them, change to a doctor you can talk to.