Do you always tell the truth to your doctor? It seems that many of us don’t all the time, either because we know we’re doing the wrong thing and don’t want a lecture, or we just consider it no big deal.
Remember Jack Nicholson in the movie Something’s Gotta Give who denies he has taken Viagra, a lie that could have ended up killing him?
Well, our mate ‘Jack’ is not alone in fudging the truth to make us look better to our doctor, or avoid coming to terms with something we’d rather avoid.
Here are just six things we should never lie about, especially as we get older.
1. Smoking and drinking
If you still smoke even the occasional cigarette, your doctor needs to know. You might not want a lecture, but the doctor has your best interests at heart and he or she needs to know the true status quo to devise an appropriate treatment plan. It’s no good being an alcoholic and cutting alcohol out for 24 hours before a blood test and pretending you have only the odd social drink. So fess up! Yes, you might get a lecture, but it’s a lecture that might save your life.
2. Unusual symptoms
Especially as you age, it’s important to make note of any strange symptoms. It’s easy to confuse soldiering on and not being a whinger with the need to speak up when it’s something that could be indicating a more serious problem. If you had a dizzy spell at the gym, get it checked out. If you have a persistent pain somewhere, speak up. Your doctor is the person to decide if it is something innocuous or something that might indicate a possibly serious issue which warrants further investigation.
3. Toilet issues
The toilet is one place where some potentially serious issues can start to show up, whether it’s post-menopausal bleeding, blood in your urine or poo, or simply a male taking an ultra-long time to have a pee. Much as we humans hate dwelling on such things, make a mental note of anything out of the ordinary and discuss it. Early diagnoses of something that could be bowel cancer, for example, is key to increasing your chances of surviving it.
Not sleeping properly can have an impact on your whole life. Your mother was right when she told you you needed your “beauty sleep” but we now know it goes much further than that. The latest studies show that sleep plays an essential part in helping your body recover from injury or illness, so if you are not getting enough you are not bouncing back as you should be. You might even have sleep apnea , which can be successfully controlled once diagnosed. There are many techniques your doctor can recommend to help you get a better night’s sleep in addition to just prescribing sleeping pills.
Yes, older people do still do it. And if your sex life is not what it should be, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for advice. It’s not a good idea to jump on the internet and order some sort of supplement guaranteed to boost your sex drive to that of a rabbit or borrow a little blue pill from a friend. Your doctor can tell you the best solution to any health issues, although they might rule the line at suggesting how to spice things up. Some things should remain strictly between you and your partner!
6. Alternative medicine
Some MDs look down on alternative medicine, but many others are embracing it. Level with your doctor about what you are taking, particularly if you are taking other medication it might interact with. Doctors also know which herbs and medications might actually do some good, and stop you wasting your money on those proven to be a waste of space.
Likewise, let them know if you are seeing a chiropractor. If you are getting acute neck pain after visiting your chiropractor, it is important your doctor knows you have just had your neck manipulated.
Okay, there you have it. Six things you shouldn’t lie about to your doctor. There are many more, but it boils down to trusting your doctor and giving them the most accurate possible information about your body so they can treat you effectively.
Remember, what you omit could be the key to a diagnosis.
What have you lied to your doctor about, or do you always tell them the truth? Come on, fess up!