Did you know 86 percent of us would keep quiet if we disagreed with our doctor’s diagnosis or treatment? That’s the upshot of a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers found it’s because we don’t want to be labeled as a “difficult” patient. Or to be told to find another doctor. But most doctors say they’d rather you objected, instead of simply ignoring their advice, or skipping the recommended tests or treatment.

  • Doctors want you to speak up if you’d rather not take the meds they prescribe. If the medication’s too expensive, or you’d rather avoid pills as long as possible, say so! They might be able to suggest non-medical alternatives – like diet and exercise – for high cholesterol, blood pressure, or diabetes. Or there might be a generic that’s just as good, and much cheaper.

  • If you’d rather not have surgery, feel free to say so! Any surgery is risky, and with new high-tech tests, you might not need a biopsy for a proper diagnosis. And, depending on your illness or injury, you might be able to try medication or physical therapy.

  • Speak up when you don’t have time for weekly follow-up appointments. You might be able to take your blood pressure at home and submit it electronically. Or get lab work done somewhere that’s closer to home or work. Or even follow up online through Skype.

  • And don’t hesitate to speak up if you researched your symptoms online, and found conflicting or confusing information. Your research might have uncovered something your doctor hasn't considered. And if the website you visited is on the sketchy side, they can point you to a more accurate, reliable medical site.