Let’s be honest about the “white lies” we all tell our doctors. When you’re having your annual checkup, maybe it’s stretching the truth about how much exercise you get, or how many sweets you’re enjoying after dinner. There’s a variety of health topics that can be sensitive for a patient, often making them difficult to talk about.

“I think the art of medicine comes from developing a connection with a patient. This relationship strengthens over time when you foster openness and honesty and try not to pass judgement. It’s a delicate balance of maintaining a relationship and building trust, and encouraging people to buy into some advice that will promote wellness and vibrancy for them. Certainly, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

You also need to meet people where they are at and avoid pointing a finger to say “I told you so”… but instead try to make positive steps toward health. Breaking it down into one- or two-step strategies that patients can picture themselves doing, and getting their buy-in, is key to making progress.” 

Andrew J. Harbison, DO

Primary Care of Western New York

Tell Your Physician the Truth

When it comes to talking with your doctor, make sure to tell them everything about these topics:

  • Diet – If you love baking a whole tray of brownies that only seem to last one night, but assure your doctor that you’re a healthy eater, then you may start to experience some negative side effects. Over-indulging might even be able to explain why you’re experiencing other symptoms, like fatigue or depression! Your primary care doctor can help tackle your eating habits, or direct you to someone that can.
  • Exercise – Everyone loves vegging on the couch after a long day. However, you’re not going to reap any benefits if you don’t balance relaxation with exercise. Working out can lower overall body fat and increase muscle strength, making physical tasks easier and less strenuous to achieve. Your doctor can suggest a workout regimen that is right for your body.
  • Mental Health – Struggling with depression? It’s important that you clue your doctor in. Mental illnesses can be debilitating, and often, people don’t want to admit that they are experiencing these symptoms. It can feel uncomfortable to talk about how you’re feeling, but your doctor can help.
  • Medications – If you have been prescribed medication and you’ve decided to stop taking it, you need to tell your doctor. Whether the medication is too expensive or carries a negative side effect, your doctor can find an alternative that will better fit your needs.

It’s important to invest in the relationship between patient and doctor, and understand that a doctor’s job is to help you. If there is something in your life you’re uncomfortable about, your doctor should actually be the one person you can talk to about it. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to your health, so tell your healthcare provider the truth! 

Find a Doctor Near You
Call (716) 706-2112

Find a Doctor Near You
Call (716) 706-2112