When was the last time you visited your doctor? Research has shown that many of us put off going to see our physician for a long time, with men being the most likely to avoid visiting the doctor. There is a myriad of reasons why individuals might not go, but finding it difficult to be open with a doctor is often one of the main concerns.
However, building a strong relationship with your primary care provider is crucial in helping you to stay fit and healthy, particularly as you get older. Not visiting your doctor or not being honest with them about your lifestyle when you do, can have dire consequences.
We know how tough it can be to be open with your doctor. So if you are struggling with your communication, we have taken a closer look at some top tips to help you be more confident and honest.
Why are people now open with their doctor?
Before looking at some tips to help you improve your communication with your primary care provider, we thought we would first look at some of the reasons why people are not quite so open. Some of the most common lies that we tell doctors include:
1. Quit smoking
One of the most common lies patients tell doctors is that they have either quit smoking or do not smoke as much as they do.
2. Not drinking as much
When it comes to not being open with your doctor, another very common lie is to underplay how much you drink.
3. Low exercise
Many people often lie about how active they really are when they are speaking with their doctor.
While we all try to heat healthy, in the hustle and bustle of modern life, it can be tough to maintain this. Physicians are well aware of this, but many patients still find it hard to be open with their doctor about healthy their diet really is.
Finally, the other most common lie patients tell is the severity of their symptoms. Some will downplay how bad they really feel, while others tend to exaggerate. Another common thing people struggle to be open with their doctor about is when the symptoms first started.
Whatever the lies might be, being open with a doctor is crucial to ensure that they are able to correctly diagnose what it might be that is impacting you. For example, experiencing discomfort or swelling in your joints could be a sign of arthritis; however, if you are not open with your doctor about your lifestyle, this could be misdiagnosed initially.
How to be more open with your doctor
If you are finding it tough to be honest and open with your primary healthcare provider, you are not alone. Visiting your doctor can be a nerve-wracking time, and many of us want to get the visit over with as soon as possible.
However, in order to ensure that you get the right treatment and avoid any dire consequences, being open is essential. To help you with your next visit, here are some tips to help you with more honest communications:
One of the first things that you should focus on is being as prepared as you can before visiting your doctor. It is not uncommon for some primary care providers to be incredibly busy, limiting the time they have to spend with each patient. In these instances, not being prepared can make it harder to get your voice heard and for them to understand exactly what is wrong with you.
Once you have booked your appointment, then make sure you are as prepared as possible. This should include what symptoms you have, when they started, and any questions you might have. When writing these, try to be as comprehensive as you can be. It is better to be too prepared than not prepared enough.
Prioritize your concerns
While it is better to be as prepared as possible when heading to your primary care provider, you should still prioritize your major concerns. Sometimes they might not have enough time to answer all of your questions, so make sure that you know what is most important to you.
Being open with your doctor requires honest communication, so do not be afraid to let them know what it is that concerns you most, no matter if you think that it might be trivial. It can be very easy to become side-tracked and avoid those questions that matter most, so make sure when you enter the room with the doctor, you know what you want to find out.
This is one of the hardest things to do when speaking with a doctor, but do not be afraid of being honest when discussing your concerns. Tell them about how much exercise you do, the food you eat, and the alcohol you consume. While you might think that this is embarrassing or show that you do not care about your health, that is simply not true. Your doctor will appreciate the honesty, and it will allow them to provide a better diagnosis of what could be causing your illness.
Engage with them
While you should come to the appointment with a list of questions that you want help with, you should also make sure that you are engaging with what your primary care provider is saying. A key to being open with a doctor is to engage in a conversation about what they are saying. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in response to what they might be telling you.
Don’t be afraid to tell them you don’t understand something either. Doctors are there to help you and will be more than happy to explain things in a different way to ensure you clearly understand what they are telling you.
Bring someone with you
If you are nervous about visiting your doctor, or you are going through a particularly complex health issue, then don’t be afraid to bring someone with you. Having someone there will not only help to take in everything that they are telling you, but they can also act as support to help you be more open with the doctor.
Experiencing health issues with your joints?
If you are noticing discomfort and swelling in your joints that is impeding your movement, then you should be honest with your doctor. These are common indicators that you could be suffering from arthritis, and the sooner you act, the sooner you can get moving again.
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