Your doctor is supposed to be your medical confidante. The information you share is used to make or keep you healthy. Still, many of you omit critical details, distort the truth, or outright lie when questioned by your doctors. However, make no mistake, what you don’t tell your doctor can hurt or kill you.
For many, the exam room feels like a courtroom. The doctor, a detective, judge, and jury all wrapped up in a single white lab coat, making it less than appealing to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth about their health.
“Hiding their medical history, social history, or social functioning could actually retard their treatment,” said Usman Siddiqui, MD, cardiologist at Florida Hospital Orlando.
“Withholding information is actually dangerous. We might be prescribing some medications that could be harmful for the patient,” warned Swathy Kolli, MD, cardiologist at Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, Orlando.
Surveys say one of the most common lies patients tell their doctors are about drinking.
Too much alcohol leads to liver disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, and increases the risk of certain cancers. Also, drinking while using drugs, or taking prescription meds, can kill you.
“Sometimes you’ll ask the patient, ‘Do you do any drugs?’ and they’ll go, ‘No.’ Then you conduct a urine drug screen and it turns out to be positive,” Kolli said.
Another common habit patients lie about is smoking.
Smokers typically pay 15 to 20 percent more for health insurance than non-smokers, but they also have a higher risk of developing diseases that are expensive to treat.
Another taboo topic for patients is sex partners.
“Sometimes the patients may not realize that it is important information for the doctor,” Kolli explained.
The more partners you have, the more likely you are to have a STD, which means proper screenings are critical for you and your partners.
In the end, it’s your choice, silence or solutions, but keep in mind, “we leave the judging behind,” Siddiqui said.
Remember, doctors are bound by doctor-patient confidentiality and federal law to keep your info private. If you’re still not comfortable, find a new doctor.