Tall tales you tell your doctor

October 12, 2013

But make no mistake, what you don't tell your doctor can hurt or kill you.

For many, the exam room feels like a courtroom. And 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.

"I just don't like answering questions," "I don't need you to know my personal business," and "They'll find something real wrong with me," are some of the reasons patients say it's hard to talk to doctors.

"Hiding their medical history, their social history, their social functioning could actually retard their treatment," said Dr. Usman Siddiqui, a cardiologist with Florida Hospital Orlando.

"Withholding information is actually dangerous. We might be prescribing some medications," Dr. Swathy Kolli, a cardiologist with Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, said.

Surveys say four 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. And drinking while using drugs, or taking prescription meds, can kill you.

"Sometimes, you'll go and talk to the patient, 'Do you do any drugs?' and they'll go, 'No.' And then you have a urine drug screen which is positive," said Dr. Kolli.

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: sex partners.

"Sometimes the patients may not realize that it is important information for the doctor," Dr. Kolli said.

The more partners you have, the more likely you are to have an 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," said Dr. Siddiqui

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.

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