9 White Lies You Need to Stop Telling Your Docs
If you're not telling the whole truth (and nothing but the truth), you could be harming your health
Why you should 'fess up: If you smoke, you're at a higher risk for lung, cervical and breast cancers, and your doc needs to start early or more frequent screenings for these diseases. Smoking can also interfere with meds -- it makes patients with early rheumatoid arthritis less likely to respond to the two most commonly prescribed medications on the market. And even occasional smoking raises your risk of blood clots and stroke, especially if you're on hormone-based birth control such as the Pill, patch or ring.
Smoking also affects post-op healing because it decreases blood flow. Why is this a problem? Here's an example: "Skin cancer surgeries require using a skin flap or graft to reconstruct the defect once the skin cancer has been removed. Decreased blood flow can significantly increase the chance of the flap or graft dying and falling off," says Dr. Soheil Simzar, a Santa Monica dermatologist at Ava MD. Decreased blood flow also means higher infection rates at the surgery site and higher risk for complications from general anesthesia, says Melissa Doft, a New York City plastic surgeon. She recommends patients stop smoking four weeks before and four weeks after a surgery.
SEE NEXT PAGE: The lie: "I've never done coke."