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Women's Health

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5 Fibs Your Doctor Is Fed Up Hearing

2. I watch what I eat.

If you've ever said, “Sure, doc, I eat a balanced, healthy diet,” you're not alone. “People often exaggerate the extent to which they practice good [eating] habits,” Doyle says. It's OK to indulge every now and then, but be honest about your slip-ups.

Fess up because ... Enjoying a fatty burger or sweet frappé before an appointment could lead to abnormal blood test results and unnecessary treatment. “Telling the doctor you eat correctly when you really don't could [result in] being prescribed a medication to control your cholesterol, for example,” Doyle says. “This could produce side effects and be less effective than simply continuing to have good eating habits.”

3. It's just a vitamin.

Did you tell your doctor about that over-the-counter supplement you took to help you sleep or fight a cold? “Patients [often] neglect to tell us about the pills they take because it was over-the-counter or it was [a friend’s]. So they don't tell us, and we might miss something,” Ford says.

Fess up because ... Everything you put in your body -- air, water, food, medicine, vitamins, minerals -- affects your health. Some supplements may have side effects that can interfere with your prescription drugs or other conditions you have.

4. I take my medicine as directed.

Three out of four people have trouble taking medicine as directed. Some never even fill their prescription. Others don't tell their primary care doctors about drugs given to them by other doctors. Don’t mix meds without asking first.

Fess up because ... Medicine doesn’t work if you don’t take it. It can be dangerous if you take more than you should. You might even become resistant to it, meaning that the drug stops working altogether. On the flip side, stopping cold turkey could cause more health problems. And if you don’t take your full dose of antibiotics, your symptoms could come back.

5. I'll get to it later.

“I'll quit smoking after spring break.” “I'll get my mammogram next month.” “That colonoscopy you ordered is on my to-do list.” These are all common fibs, Ford says.

Fess up because ...“It's not that every single thing should be urgent. It's just that there's no reason to delay on things that make us healthy,” he says.

At the end of the day, your medical record is only as good as the information you give. “Failing to give the complete and honest story may result in ineffective or even dangerous treatment,” Leavey says.

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Reviewed on March 20, 2015

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