Honesty is the Best Policy for Diagnostic Medical Imaging Appointments

When you have a scheduled appointment for medical imaging, there are several questions that probably run through your mind.

What could they find?
Will this hurt?
Did I do this to myself?

While all of those questions are important, what is more pressing are the questions your doctor or technician poses to you. At the beginning of every exam, the doctor or nurse usually asks a series of questions about what has brought you to their office, clerical information concerning address and insurance, symptom questions and other inquiries into your life. This is not meant to be invasive, this is just so that a doctor or healthcare facility can have all the appropriate and updated information at the ready in order to begin the exam or procedure.

While the questions asked may seem probing or too personal, it is crucial that you answer the questions honestly and with as much detail as possible. Doctors ask a variety of questions about your allergies, changes in mood or appetite, lifestyle choices, all so that they can have an accurate picture of your current health and furthermore, protect you from becoming sicker or injured further. These questions are purely for diagnostic medical purposes.

Your physician may ask about your past health, your family’s health, eating habits, or any number of questions. Some of these questions are difficult for others to answer because they are afraid of doctors passing judgment or their answer having a negative effect on their insurance premium. Questions like prescription and recreational drug use, alcohol intake, smoking or other negative habits, are asked only in the interest of getting the most complete history and to make sure that nothing you are given in the surgery or exam could be harmful.

For example, if you are a heavy drinker, you could possibly have problems with your kidney function. With excess alcohol consumption over a long period of time, your body can develop serious problems such as an enlarging of the kidneys or hormonal imbalances due to kidney malfunction. Now that might be considered a personal issue not worth sharing to you but it could create negative effects on your diagnostic medical imaging procedure. Imagine that you are scheduled for an MRI at Doctors Imaging. Once again, you may not see the connection between having a medical imaging procedure performed and your recreational activities. However, during some CTs or MRIs, doctors will often administer contrast fluid intravenously into the body so that certain areas, blockages or blood vessels can be enhanced or highlighted. But if the patient has kidney problems, the body doesn’t filter the contrast material into urine like it should, so it can clog into the body’s other systems and cause serious internal damage.

Another example of the importance of honesty with your doctor is if you are lying about pain. Some people, particularly men, often minimize their pain and try to brush off injuries. In doing so, they can risk further hurting themselves by not being honest with doctors. A doctor may prescribe medication for the pain but if he or she doesn’t know the exact degree of pain, they cannot write the proper dosage or they could make a treatment that will exacerbate the problem rather than relieving it. Remember, in order for your doctors to properly diagnose you, they need the truthful answers to their diagnostic medical imaging questions.

These are just a few stories, but there are many others about the negative outcomes of lying to physicians. If you are concerned about judgment, it can be from worry that the doctor will not understand why you do something or the fear that the doctor will attempt to stop you from doing a specific habit. Either way, your doctor has a duty to do no harm toward you, they are more concerned with getting you better rather than judging you for lifestyle choices. Their job is to keep you as healthy as possible and the best way to do that is to keep the lines of communication between you and doctor as open and honest as possible.

At Doctors Imaging, we’re Radiologists concerned about Patient Care. If you’re looking for diagnostic medical imaging, you can request an imaging test quote online or by calling 504-883-8111.

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