Little white lies can compromise health

January 21, 2021

It seems harmless enough. You’re at the doctor’s office and you decide to make up a few white lies about your daily habits. Maybe it’s easier to say you head to the gym three times a week rather than hearing a lecture about why you shouldn’t sit on the couch after work. Or you might be embarrassed to talk about how many drinks you have with dinner each night.

If you’re not being completely honest with your medical provider, the only one you’re hurting is you. It’s estimated that at least one-quarter of people aren’t completely honest with their healthcare providers.

MLHS Family Practice Physician Assistant Travis Green explains why being straightforward about your habits is not something to be embarrassed about. “We are not here to judge you, we are here to help you understand how to manage your health and hopefully live happy, healthy lives,” said Green. “Being honest with us from the start can make all the difference. Sometimes by withholding vital information it can jeopardize your own safety because we may not understand how serious the situation is without hearing the whole story.”

Develop a relationship with a family care provider, and be honest about:

  • Your lifestyle. Telling your provider what he or she wants to hear won’t make you any healthier. But discussing what may be stopping you from leading a healthier lifestyle (smoking, exercise, diet) can result in helpful advice that may get you started on the right track.
  • How you feel. Whether you’re noticing you have more aches and pains than you used to, are feeling unusually sluggish when you’re active, or are feeling down in the dumps and don’t know why, it’s important to tell your doctor. Some symptoms, even minor, may be a sign that something is wrong. Sharing this information is the first step to keeping you healthier.
  • Your meds. If you’re prescribed medication, it’s important to take it. If there’s a reason you don’t want to take it – talk to your doctor to see if there is another option that may suit you better. Also let your doctor know about supplements, over-the-counter meds, or recreational drugs you use.