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Why You Shouldn’t Lie to Your Doctor

Honesty's the better policy -- especially if you're tempted by these fibs:

"I'm eating right and exercising often." "Women feel guilty talking about their weight issues when they're not doing anything about it," says Jennifer Dizon, M.D., an ob-gyn professor at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles. But if you need to lose a few pounds, especially if you had high blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy, just be straight with your doctor. If not, you'll miss out on helpful advice, and you may gain more weight and make your condition worse.

"No, I don't smoke." Lying to avoid a lecture can be dangerous. If you're choosing birth control, your doctor won't know to steer you away from hormonal options (smokers on the Pill or the Patch are at risk for blood clots). Being aware of your smoking can also help your M.D. understand symptoms like slow healing after an illness, or allergies and asthma. Most important, she can help you kick the habit by recommending a plan tailored to you. For instance, you might be a candidate for Chantix, a promising new smoking-cessation drug.

"Everything's fine." If you're feeling depressed, say so. It's just as serious a health issue as back pain or sleeping problems. Plus, it can bring on symptoms like migraines and weight gain. If you still need convincing, consider this: Dealing with your sadness is good for your family, since new research shows that the children of depressed moms are more likely to be anxious or depressed or to engage in disruptive behavior.