It is not enough to tell your doctor that you are suffering from insomnia , a stabbing in your right side, or a high fever. The more information the specialist receives, the faster the correct diagnosis will be made. Why it is important not to miss anything and to be frank during the examination, we found out from the experts: the chief physician of the Austrian health center Verba Mayr Natalia Edel , therapist of the Dobry Doctor family clinic Galina Dymarskaya and the chief physician of the OK’Doctor remote telemedicine consultation service Rosa Serdyuk. We publish several facts about which it is harmful to remain silent.
You are drinking medications or dietary supplements
Few drugs act sightingly, without affecting any other tissues and organs. In addition, medications interact with each other and can enhance or weaken the action of each other. The doctor must know what medications you are taking – otherwise, the new prescribed drug may increase the side effects of the old one, reduce its effectiveness (some even interact with oral contraceptives), or it itself will be useless and even harm.
Dietary supplements (dietary supplements) may also be unsafe when interacting with medications. Therefore, it is important to inform your healthcare provider ahead of time about which supplements you are taking. Physician Galina Dymarskaya notes that the production of dietary supplements often occurs without compliance with pharmaceutical standards, and research on their safety and effectiveness is usually not carried out. Sometimes taking supplements by itself can make you feel worse – according to Natalia Edel , fat-soluble vitamins in dietary supplements can accumulate in the body, sports supplements with tyrosine can alter the function of the thyroid gland, and hormonal supplements (tryptophan, DHEA) can affect hormonal balance.
Have you done operations
It is worth talking about any surgeries you have undergone, including aesthetic ones, if only because it is important for the doctor to know what kind of anesthesia was used and how you underwent it; of epidural anesthesia and the reaction to it is also better to tell. This is necessary to identify possible allergies or intolerance to a particular drug. In addition, undergoing surgery can increase the likelihood of certain diseases.
Natalia Edel notes that one of the most common risks after surgery is thromboembolism, an acute blockage of a blood vessel by a thrombus. Another danger is infection with the hepatitis C virus if the operation was performed in insufficiently sterile conditions. Of course, in a typical hospital in the developed world, this risk is minimal – but do not forget to inform your doctor if you have to seek emergency medical assistance while traveling to exotic countries.
An experienced doctor will most likely identify a smoker without any prompts – by the color of the teeth and complexion, the quality of the nails and other signs. However, to warn the doctor about this in advance means to speed up your recovery due to the promptly selected treatment. This is especially important for experienced smokers. For example, in case of asthma attacks, the doctor may suspect panic attacks in the patient, but when he reports smoking, he will immediately send it to the ECG.
Smoking in women aged 35 and over is a contraindication to the appointment of hormonal contraceptives, as the risk of heart problems becomes too high. In addition, smoking impairs the functioning of the respiratory, cardiovascular and reproductive systems, contributes to the development of diabetes mellitus and is a proven cause of lung cancer. When prescribing medication for a smoker, the physician should take into account that the likelihood of side effects and complications is higher compared to a non-smoker.
How much alcohol do you drink?
This information is important for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, heart and blood vessels, solving psychological problems – and for the prevention of alcohol dependence itself. According to Natalia Edel , when a patient admits to frequent alcohol consumption , this allows significant savings in the budget both at the stage of examination and during treatment. The doctor does not prescribe dozens of studies to clarify, for example, the reasons for an enlarged liver, but immediately selects the optimal treatment.
The diagnosis, when a patient complains of sleepiness during the day and insomnia at night, also depends on the amount of alcohol drunk – too large doses can disrupt the cycles of sleep and wakefulness. The appointment of a sleeping pill in this case will not solve the problem, but it can damage the body – in particular, the combination of alcohol with barbiturates, strong sedatives, is simply life-threatening. Galina Dymarskaya adds that while taking many medications, alcohol should be completely eliminated, because it reduces or neutralizes their effect. Alcohol cannot be combined with drugs that have a toxic effect on the liver.
You had unprotected sex with a new partner
Intimate life, when it comes to unsafe sex, is a parameter that can become a key parameter when making a diagnosis. Before prescribing treatment, the doctor must eliminate the risk of serious infections, such as HIV and hepatitis viruses. It often makes sense to do a pregnancy test as well.
Natalia Edel explains that, for example, the hepatitis and HIV viruses do not make themselves felt instantly, but most often these viruses can be detected within a month after infection (however, six months after unprotected sex, a second analysis should be done to make sure that they are absent ). Awareness of the doctor about the situation will speed up the diagnosis and allow taking preventive measures.
You are a carrier of a dangerous infection
Patients do not like to talk about infections – such a confession may be accompanied by shame or fear of condemnation. However, this should be done to minimize the possibility of infecting other people. For example, with infections with hepatitis or HIV viruses, any contact with blood can lead to transmission of the virus – and if strict aseptic standards are not followed, this is possible even with gastroscopy. Syphilis can generally be transmitted by household means – and once, before the spread of gloves, finger syphilis was an occupational disease of obstetricians and even dentists.
Doctor Roza Serdyuk notes that a professional should react very calmly to a confession of an infected patient – listen carefully, conduct an examination and prescribe appropriate treatment, usually together with other specialists, for example, an infectious disease doctor. It is also important to clarify how well a person knows about his condition and whether he receives help – if not, then he should be advised to contact specialized institutions for information. If the doctor’s reaction is inadequate – accusation of depravity, humiliation, the threat of disclosing medical secrets, disgust – this is a reason to look for another specialist.
You eat a lot of unhealthy food
Passion for juicy pizza, huge burgers and Belgian waffles can be hidden from friends, colleagues and trainers – but not from your doctor. Frequent consumption of unhealthy foods and overeating (including healthy foods) are important information for assessing the health of the digestive system and the body as a whole. A person may suffer from chronic gastritis caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori – or have similar symptoms simply because there is too much fatty, spicy, fried foods in the diet. Moreover, in the first case, the doctor will prescribe antibiotic treatment, and in the second, he will advise you to limit yourself to a balanced diet.
Rosa Serdyuk notes that the silence about the excessive consumption of junk food confuses the doctor who monitors the metabolic process and the work of the digestive tract. Indicators of cholesterol, blood creatinine , glucose and other trace elements change, and in order to make a correct diagnosis, you need to understand how much this is related to dietary habits.
You move a little
Accurate information about the patient’s physical activity allows the doctor to distinguish between exceeding the daily calorie intake from a serious condition – metabolic disorders , for example, for hormonal reasons. In the first case, it is enough to make a few feasible changes in your routine, in the second, you will need special therapy. Doctor Galina Dymarskaya notes that a sedentary lifestyle, like a hectic diet, contributes to excess weight. These patients usually have heart and joint problems (being overweight puts more stress on them) and an increased risk of developing diabetes.
You have violated the treatment regimen
Did you have a tough week and didn’t manage to take the pills on schedule? The main thing is to admit this to the doctor. The specialist who prescribes the treatment expects a certain result. If the latter is not there, two options are possible: the doctor will doubt the diagnosis and send the patient for an additional examination, or he will simply decide to increase the dose of the drug or prescribe a different one. Remember, for the medicine to work, it must be taken.
Sometimes it makes sense to discuss possible options – for example, you buy a more expensive medicine, but instead of three different pills, you will take one that contains the three necessary components. The same with contraceptives: if you forget to take pills or often spontaneously rush off on a weekend trip, leaving them at home, it is better to discuss the situation with your gynecologist and change the drug to a long-acting one like an implant, vaginal ring or intrauterine system.
You seem to have minor symptoms.
Often, a symptom that is insignificant at first glance hides a serious health problem that requires an immediate solution. Mild discomfort under the left shoulder blade may be a sign of a heart attack, and a mild, but frequent headache may signal a herniated disc. Natalia Edel says that there is a clear scheme for making a diagnosis: having a full set of symptoms, a specialist must consistently exclude possible diseases.
Imagine a situation: a patient complains of joint pain that has never happened before. This symptom can serve as a “wake-up call” of onset arthritis, but if age, test results, and family history do not indicate arthritis, it will be difficult to determine the diagnosis. And only if the patient suddenly remembers that he was bitten by a tick last summer, everything will become clear: arthritis is one of the manifestations of Lyme disease, an infectious disease transmitted by ticks. Therefore, you should honestly answer the doctor’s questions, even if it seems that they have nothing to do with your complaints.