Smartphones Know More About Our Health Than Our Doctors
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Smartphones Know More About Our Health Than Our Doctors

May 31 2016

Look your doctor in the eye and tell the whole truth the next time you’re wearing a paper gown.

Technology is a great way to track your activity levels and health issues. Whether you wear a FitBit or use smartphone apps such as Period Tracker, Mood Tracker, Symple or Lose It!, chances are you have a pretty good handle on what’s going on in your body.

But does your doctor know?

A recent article in the New York Times says we are more honest with our smartphones than we are with our doctors. When it’s time to see the doctor, many of us avoid telling the doctor the complete truth, according to a survey by Zocdoc. Sometimes it’s because of embarrassment. Sometimes we think the doctor is too busy to listen, or we’re afraid we’ll be judged.

We fib about:

Alcohol use. You know your doctor is going to ask if and how much you drink. They always do. No one wants to be seen as a lush or a raging alcoholic, but think twice before answering incorrectly. Your doctor may have some insights about how your drinking is affecting your triglycerides, your weight or your liver.

Smoking. There are a hundred reasons to quit. But if you haven’t conquered your tobacco habit yet, be honest. Your doctor can offer realistic suggestions or smoking-cessation meds that are covered by your insurance.

Sex. Sure, it’s pretty personal, but resist the urge to brush off questions about problems that are cropping up in the bedroom. And don’t be afraid to talk about STDs. Wouldn’t it be better to get help than suffer in silence?

Even if you’re among the 1 in 4 people who lie or exaggerate on social media, the doctor’s office is the place to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Depression or anxiety. Emotions can be hard to discuss, especially with someone you see once a year for 20 minutes. But if you’re struggling with a mood disorder, it’s better tell your doctor than to kick yourself later for not bringing it up.

Physical symptoms. Downplaying your symptoms could make your doctor ignore an issue that should be addressed. And exaggerating your symptoms could lead to needless testing and expense. Don’t let awkward topics stop you from being straightforward.

Following doctor’s orders. Did you really finish your complete regimen of antibiotics?  Are you taking blood pressure meds daily? Are you taking vitamins? You could clear up a few mysteries about nagging health problems if you tell it like it is.

Exercise. Your FitBit tells the real story, and your doctor is interested. If you’re worried about getting scolded, don’t be. Your doctor may surprise you with practical suggestions to get you off the couch.

Diet. The scale tells the truth and you should too. Your doctor can help you achieve your health goals by suggesting ways to improve your eating habits or even refer you to a nutritionist who can help you find the right plan for you. 

Honesty is the best policy:

Even if you’re among the 1 in 4 people who lie or exaggerate on social media, the doctor’s office is the place to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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