The Community Post

Being Honest With Your Doctor

It’s harder to help if they don’t have a complete health picture.


Everyone knows the doctor-patient relationsh­ip is critical to health and well-being, in particular as we age. But that doesn’t stop some people from fudging a little on the details.


Perhaps you haven’t been strictly following doctor’s orders, or haven’t made time to exercise the way you should. Everyone struggles with their diet from time to time. Still, your doctor needs the fullest, most honest accounting of how things are going in order to properly evaluate your health status and make the proper recommenda­tions and prescripti­ons. Keep a regular checkup schedule, and fully disclose how it’s going and what you’re feeling.


Be prepared to discuss everything that’s happened since your last visit. If you’re having trouble compiling a mental list, write things down in order to remember. Discuss everyday aches and pains, how lingering issues have been

improving or doing worse, and of course any emergency care or recent surgeries. Be honest if you smoke or drink alcohol, and have frank discussion­s about your eating habits. These factors can all play a part in how the doctor approaches your care moving forward.

Discuss any issues with sleeping, appetite or energy levels. And don’t forget to talk about how you’re feeling on an emotional level. Mental wellness matters, too.


Holding back informatio­n can have a significan­t impact on treatment and general health care approaches. Truthfulne­ss and accuracy are a must, and that goes both ways. If you don’t feel your doctor is being completely honest in return, ask more direct questions — or consider finding a new physician.

White lies, glossing over tough situations or complete avoidance can have dire consequenc­es since there may be known warning signs associated with what you’re not talking about.


If you’re not the assertive type, or have difficulty formulatin­g questions on a real-time basis, consider bringing a friend or family member to your doctor’s appointmen­ts. They can help you get organized before the visit, offering helpful reminders for your checklist. Trusted confidants

will also understand the issues you live with every day, so they’ll be better prepared to ask the important questions you might forget during your visit. They can also provide clarity with doctor comments you might have missed — or simply misheard.

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