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4 Lies Seniors Tell Their Doctors

By Dian Brannen, 9:00 am on

According to a recent study by ZocDoc, about 25 percent of patients admit to lying to their doctors or omitting information during a visit. While telling white lies or downplaying risky behavior may not seem like a big deal, not being honest makes it harder for the physician to do their job well and it may have an impact on your health. Here, Lehigh Valley caregivers highlight some of the most common lies seniors tell their doctors–and why it’s important to come clean.

1. “I take my medication as prescribed.”

About 75 percent of people have difficulty taking their medication as prescribed, whether they fail to fill a prescription, skip doses, or forget to mention other drugs prescribed by another doctor. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 55 percent of the elderly are “non-compliant” with prescriptions. If you have trouble taking medication as prescribed, your doctor may be able to help.

2. “I don’t take any other medications.”

Many seniors take over-the-counter supplements and cold medication, but it’s important to tell the doctor. Vitamins, minerals, and over-the-counter medication can affect your health and these supplements may interfere with your prescription drugs or conditions. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates 200,000 older Americans are hospitalized every year due to adverse drug reactions, including those between prescriptions and cold medicine.

3. “I watch what I eat.”

If you lie about your diet, your doctor will have more trouble determining what’s really wrong. The risk for type 2 diabetes increases with age, and there are many foods that can affect your health and symptoms. If your doctor does not know what you are eating, he or she will have a hard time assessing your risk for diabetes or helping you avoid potentially serious consequences. You may even be prescribed medication you don’t need to control high cholesterol, which means dealing with medication side effects instead of receiving nutritional advice.

4. “It’s not a big deal.”

The elderly tend to downplay symptoms they experience because they assume it’s normal aging or they don’t want to complain. If you aren’t truthful about your symptoms or you don’t talk about how you feel, your doctor will not be able to find a solution quickly. Your symptoms may also be a sign of something serious, but your doctor can’t help if you don’t speak up.

Learn more about senior health and wellness from leading Lehigh Valley elder care agency, Home Care Assistance. We offer comprehensive care services on a live-in or as-needed basis and never require clients to sign a long-term contract. For more information, call 484-350-3874 and speak with a friendly Care Manager today.