A visit to the Doctor’s office can leave you feeling anxious. The more-than-anticipated wait in the reception area, the vitals being checked, the preliminary questions are enough to make anyone “forget” to give out essential information to the doctor. There are some reasons why you may keep something from your doctor. You may either be embarrassed or probably afraid that the doctor will judge you or be disappointed in you.
If there’s anywhere you need to be honest about your health and habits, it’s the doctor’s office. A doctor-patient relationship is governed by trust, honesty and commitment. Besides the doctor is bound to keep your information confidential, so rest assured, you can be sure that your secrets are going to be safe with your doctor. However, by leaving out information you run the risk of not receiving the right medical care.
Here’s a list of topics that you need to be honest about with your doctor –
- Smoking habits:
Most people avoid mentioning that they currently smoke or used to smoke either because they felt ashamed, weren’t ready to quit or they don’t want to be lectured about it. Apart from having harmful effects on your health, your doctor needs to know this bit of information as smoking can affect the treatment of certain conditions such as bronchitis.
- Drinking habits:
Alcohol can have serious health consequences. Excessive drinking can lead to many serious health conditions in the long term, such as high blood pressure, gastric problems, liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, pancreatitis, alcohol dependence and various psychological conditions. Telling your doctor how much alcohol you drink is important so that your doctor is aware about the potential interactions between the alcohol and prescription medicines that you may require. It will also help you and your doctor understand your limits and develop a plan to cut down on excessive drinking.
- Supplements you take:
Most people avoid telling their doctor about the over-the-counter vitamins or supplements they take. While you may think that these supplements are harmless, certain supplements interact with medications, for e.g., Calcium supplements could interact with the absorption of antibiotics.
- Family History:
Sharing your family history with your doctor may seem unimportant to you. However, it helps your doctor gain insight into the risk factors as well as recommend preventive measures for the diseases that run in your family.
- Mental Health:
Several people have trouble discussing their mental health with their doctors as they fear being labelled as a psychiatric patient. Anxiety and depression are not just passing phases, they require medical treatment. These can be dangerous, debilitating and involves the risk for life. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms so that he can direct you to other helpful resources. Bear in mind that mental health issues can be treated and the earlier the treatment begins the more effective it will be.
- Diet and Exercise:
Lack of proper diet and exercise could give rise to diseases like Hypertension and Diabetes. At the same time changes in appetite, recent unexplained weight loss may be signs of some serious underlying conditions. Your doctor will advice you with the right steps to improve your health.
- Not taking Medicines as prescribed:
This also includes stopping or reducing the regularity of the medication when the condition has normalised. It is important to let your doctor know that you’re taking the medicines as prescribed so that he or she can make accurate decisions about your health. For example, if you are not taking your medicines as advised the doctor may assume that the medication isn’t working and may prescribe you a different medicine or a higher dose. Before you start or stop any medication it is necessary to consult your doctor.
- Sensitive subjects:
While you may be uncomfortable talking about some problems like bladder and bowel problems, blood in the stools, sex life, etc., leaving out any information could affect your health and could have a negative effect on your care. You shouldn’t be embarrassed to discuss health-related issues with your doctor. Afterall your doctor isn’t there to judge you.
Remember, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about or scared of. After all, you and your doctor are in this together.
Disclaimer: The above information has been prepared by a qualified medical professional and may not represent the practices followed universally. The suggestions listed in this article constitute relatively common advice given to patients, and since every patient is different, you are advised to consult your physician, if in doubt, before acting upon this information. Lupin Limited has only facilitated the distribution of this information to you in the interest of patient education and welfare.