It's Medical Assistants Recognition Week! And, everyone, I LOVE my job. So this week will features a celebration of health!
Patients are often uncomfortable talking about about their bodies with their doctors. It's important to know that even a small fib can be harmful to your care. As a medical assistant, I can tell you that we've heard it all. Don't be afraid to speak up and be honest about your body and habits, even if telling the truth makes you uncomfortable. Your doctor's office is a judgement free zone!
//1// I only drink on weekends.
Patients tend to under report the amount of alcohol they drink. Having more than one drink a day (including wine!) can increase the risk of pancreatitis, heart disease, ulcers, and breast cancer. Have three drinks at a time can be even riskier. Make sure to make your doctor is aware of how much you're actually drinking.
//2// I always take my prescribed medicine.
A patient may lie about taking prescribed medication even when they haven't been. They may have stopped the medication because they felt better or due to cost, stigma, and side effects. Whatever the barriers are, your doctor can help you work through it. If you claim you are taking your medication when you're not, the doctor may double the dose or add another medication when neither is necessary.
//3// I don't take any other medication besides what was prescribed.
Most patients omit homeopathic remedies such a vitamins, supplements, and essential oils because they don't think of them as medication. Other medications such a birth control, Advil, and sleep aids also often go unreported. If you're taking it more than once a week, your doctor needs to know! While most herbal supplements are safe on their own, they can interact with medicine making it less effective or cause side effects.
//4// Nothing has changed.
Someone concerns, such a sexual concerns and concerns with your digestive system, can be hard to talk about. No matter what the symptoms, it's important that your doctor knows and has the chance to rule out anything serious. Many people worry they will be judged or assume nothing can be done about the symptoms. Just remember - if it matters to you, it should matter to your doctor.
//5// I'm just stressed.
Everyone feels stressed from time to time, but if you're starting to notice physical changes that may be due to stress, it's important to speak up about it. Stress may not just be stress. You could be feeling overwhelmed and frazzled due to a mood disorder or hormonal issues. If a patient doesn't speak up about he/she is feeling, symptoms instead of underlying causes get treated.