This is the next installment in the series, Stretching Your Healthcare Dollars.
All of us have areas in which we could . . . shall we say . . . improve, in our health care. Perhaps you’re a smoker, eat too many snack foods, don’t exercise, or don’t take your prescribed medications regularly. It’s important to be honest with your doctor even in the areas in which you fall short, so he or she can properly diagnose and treat you.
It’s also vital that you’re honest with your doctor about sexual practices and drug and/or alcohol use.
When your doctor knows about the above habits, he or she can order appropriate tests and medications, and counsel you on risk factors of your practices. He can also watch for, and alert you to, changes in your body related to these practices, that you should report to him.
You’re making the best use of your healthcare dollars when you tell your doctor about anything that is pertinent to your healthcare, so he can treat you accordingly and effectively.
Be assured that your doctor has “heard it all” and no matter how weird or unusual what you do, or don’t do, may seem to you . . . he’s seen stranger things! Also rest assured that except in unusual circumstances (if law enforcement officials are involved, or if abuse is involved, or if you are a danger to yourself or others) your doctor is prohibited by privacy laws from sharing ANY information you give him with anyone.
Here are some suggestions for bringing up a topic you’re embarassed about (whether a health practice, symptom, or question) or uncomfortable with:
- “This is embarassing to tell you about, but I’ve been having the following symptoms lately . . . “
- “I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but I want to let you know that I’ve been . . . “
- “I have a question for you, but it’s hard for me to ask . . . “
- “I think I should have a test for _____ since I’ve been doing some things I shouldn’t have been . . . “
- “I know you prescribed that medication for me, but I have not been taking it because . . . “
Be honest with your doctor so he can treat you to the best of his ability.
Do you have a question about health care? E-mail me at email@example.com. Selected questions will be answered in future posts.