Doctors have the annoying habit of asking us a lot of questions, which bothers us and makes us aware of our habits. So, we lie to you. A lot. Here are 5 typical lies that we tell our doctors, and why even if they seem harmless, they are dangerous to our health.
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- Yes, I am taking the medications just as you told me
No, what’s up. It is worth it to take medications routinely. And of course, it is uncomfortable to confess to your GP that you have not done so. But now you are not only skipping the prescribed treatment, you have also given your doctor a dose of erroneous information that could lead to other adverse effects.
Increasing the dose comes with its own set of consequences, such as increased heart rate, dizziness and fatigue. So now you’re really undermining your health, the opposite of what you intended to do when you went to the doctor in the first place.
Many times, the doctor will know that you are not taking some specific medications if you present with high blood pressure or blood tests indicate that you have high cholesterol. Ultimately, however, it all depends on what you say.
- No, I am not taking any prescription medication or supplements
The list includes prescription medications, such as anticoagulants, antibiotics, antidepressants and heart drugs, as well as over-the-counter supplements and medications, such as aspirins, minerals, amino acids, botanicals, and vitamins.
Supplements are medications and should be treated as such. They should be listed in a patient’s medication record. The nature of the reactions between drugs depends on the particular mixture and the unique physiology of the patient, but some medications have greater consequences than others.
Drug interactions could cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure, a rapid and irregular heartbeat, an accumulation of toxins that damage the liver and less severe symptoms such as nausea, stomach ache and headache.
They may also stop informing their doctor that they are taking antidepressants because they feel uncomfortable sharing information about another doctor’s psychiatric treatment, or because they think it is not important.
Drug interactions make it important not to lie to your doctor. It is also important to know if there is a diagnosis of depression or anxiety, because some medications can, as a side effect, cause depression or anxiety; particularly in someone who has already experienced these disorders.
- I have not eaten or drank anything before the surgery
The patient arrives for the operation and the anaesthesiologists ask: “When was the last time you ate or drank something?” The patient responds “I have not taken anything all day.” It may sound like a harmless lie but it could result in a disaster.
It is very important that patients are honest about the last oral intake of food or beverages, since it can have significant consequences in relation to their anaesthesia plan. It is assumed that patients who undergo elective surgery have an empty stomach, as they are instructed to do so.
The problem is that, when a patient has been put to sleep with anaesthesia, his lower oesophageal sphincter (the valve that connects the oesophagus to the stomach) relaxes. During this period of relaxation, the stomach contents can dangerously regurgitate up to the mouth, and meander along the path in the patient’s trachea to the lungs. Once in the lungs, this regurgitated acid material can cause inflammation and lead to the development of pneumonia.
- The truth is that I don’t drink much alcohol
Underestimating the amount of alcohol, we consume only delays diagnosis and treatment.
Health experts say you should not drink more than two or three drinks a day (10-15 per week), even if it is good that you enjoy special occasions. Health problems can arise when these limits are exceeded: high blood pressure, blood tests with abnormal results and digestive problems. So, if you lie to your doctor about your alcohol consumption and you have any of these symptoms, you will be confusing him. What’s more, alcohol is like any other drug: it can influence the effectiveness of the medications you are taking. Your doctor needs to know.
In a hospital, if doctors are informed of the patient’s history with alcohol, they will be able to detect a withdrawal syndrome and treat it accordingly. But if they are deceived and the patient goes into abstinence, doctors will often look for other disorders that can cause similar results (for example, fever, agitation, confusion, etc.), and will give up treatment against withdrawal symptoms that could save a life.
Seriously, people shouldn’t worry about being judged by their doctors. A lot of doctors drink more alcohol than they should.
- Smoker, me? No way
About 13 percent of smokers keep the habit a secret from their doctors. That means it means a lot of people hide this important information in the consultation.
People are afraid to tell their doctor the truth about their cigarette consumption because of the social stigma that surrounds this practice, and because they do not want to admit to themselves that they have a harmful habit to health. Moreover, patients can hide this habit from their families (who often share a family doctor) or their bosses.
However, it is important to tell the truth. If your doctor knows that you smoke you can recommend new tests and assign more strict planning of check-ups to treat tobacco-related diseases in time, such as cancer, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and heart disease. It is also important to remember that your doctor can help you quit before it is too late.
Smoking is one of the most important lifestyle changes that can be made and it significantly affects health in many ways, from a stroke or a heart attack to a cancer of all kinds.
Bear in mind that you can keep your organism in optimal conditions, here at Northcote Medical you’ll find qualified professionals for this task. Contact us today.