Tall Tale Lies You Tell Your Doc

Tall Tale Lies You Tell Your Doc

Find out what doctors say are the most common and potentially dangerous lies patients tell them in the exam room.
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," Usman Siddiqui, MD, Cardiologist at Florida Hospital Orlando, told Ivanhoe.
"Withholding information is actually dangerous. We might be prescribing some medications that could be harmful for the patient," Swathy Kolli, MD, Cardiologist at Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, Orlando, told Ivanhoe.
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," Dr. 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," Dr. 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," Dr. 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.

BACKGROUND:  It’s normal to tell a lie about some things.  You promise your mom you will call; you tell your friend you can’t make it to lunch because you can’t find a sitter. However, the one person you should never lie to is your doctor, but people do often.  A national survey recently revealed that 52 percent of women routinely stretch the truth when they talk to their doctors, like hiding sexual behavior.  Patients lie mainly because they are not being as dedicated as they should be and don’t need another lecture, and sometimes the lies just slip out. In fact, more than 25 percent of the women in the survey didn’t believe their lies were a big deal, but when even a little white lie is told to your doctor, they can’t make an accurate diagnosis.  So, here are some examples of why you should tell nothing but the truth. (Source: http://www.redbookmag.com)
THE LIE: “I’m not taking any medications.” 

•THE TRUTH: You are really taking vitamins and herbal supplements without giving them much thought. 
•CONSEQUENCES:  When the doctor asks, “what drugs are you taking?” some patients would lie about any illegal drugs they may be taking.  Some will list any and all medications, legal or illegal.  However, even those honest patients could neglect to mention that they are taking vitamins and herbal supplements because they don’t think of them as powerful, but they can be.  For example, patients may be trying out kava for relaxation, biotin for strong hair and nails, or acai for weight loss, without really understanding how it impacts their body. In reality, herbs like kava can damage the liver.  Vitamin E can cause bruising and bleeding.  Also, mixing supplements with medication could end up making them weaker or stronger.  (Source: www.shine.yahoo.com)   

THE LIE:  “I don’t have digestive issues.”

•THE TRUTH: You are embarrassed to admit that you have intestinal trouble, like gas, constipation, or bloating, on a regular basis.
•THE CONSEQUENCES:  One in four Americans suffer with gastrointestinal distress and out of that number, 70 percent are women.  “Our colons are longer, and they twist and turn like a slinky, which makes it harder for food to get through,” Robynne Chutkan, MD, founder of the Digestive Center for Women and assistant professor at Georgetown Hospital in Washington, D.C., was quoted as saying.  This could explain why women are more prone to IBS, a condition that can often be controlled with dietary changes.  So, by omitting these issues, patients are missing out on information their doctor can give to help correct the problem.  Also, sometimes these symptoms could mean that a patient needs further testing for a more serious condition.  For example, bloating could signal ovarian cancer and persistent stomach cramps could mean an autoimmune disorder like Crohn’s disease.  (Source: www.shine.yahoo.com) 

 For More Information, Contact:

Jennifer Roberts
Manager, Media Relations
Florida Hospital
407-303-8217

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