"The problem here is a totalitarian uniformity, a cult-like mentality such that even allies are enemies if they fail to follow the Exact Party Line. " - Phyllis Chesler

Sunday, June 29, 2008

What Your Doctor Is Really Saying

I saw Dr. Oz saying this on Oprah a few months ago and after an email exchange with someone I really like and respect, I decided to search for it in writing.

As I tend to be too darn direct sometimes, muddying up the message I am aiming for, making the focus on my directness and the possibly bruised feelings it may inadvertedly create, I thought posting this well-respected doctor's words would be best.

Several options’ may mean you're stuck with no winning choice
By Heather Hurlo
Best Life
updated 7:37 a.m. ET, Wed., June. 11, 2008

The Institute of Medicine did a study and found that 90 million Americans don't understand what their doctors are telling them. So we asked Mehmet Oz, MD, professor and vice chairman of surgery at New York–Presbyterian/Columbia University and author of "You: Staying Young," for some help deciphering the common phrases doctors use in the examination room.

1. If your doctor says: "You might want to consider taking a stress test."
What he means is: "You might be a ticking time bomb."
Your response should be: "Is this routine or is something in my profile worrying you?" A stress test is a risk stratification test. "It answers the question, 'When you're pushed as hard as you can be pushed, are you a ticking time bomb?' " says Dr. Oz. Your ability to exercise is the best predictor of how well you're aging.

2. If your doctor says: "You could stand to lose a little weight."
What he means is: "If you don't lose that gut, you'll end up with diabetes."
Your response should be: "Do I have high blood pressure, prediabetes, or high cholesterol?" For all three conditions, the first line of defense is weight loss. "Don't wait for your doctor to tell you to lose weight," says Dr. Oz. Measure yourself around your waist at belly-button level. If the number is more than half your height, you're overweight.

3. If your doctor says: "We have several options."
What he means is: "We have no good options."
Your response should be: "What are the problems with each option?" If your doctor had a perfect option, he wouldn't offer the others, says Dr. Oz.

4. If your doctor says: "I would like to run some more tests."
What he means is: "I'm stalling for time because I have no idea what's wrong with you."
Your response should be: "What diagnosis are you looking for with these tests?" Like everybody else, physicians go through illogical moments. Your job is to catch them. "Your doctor should be able to give you a flowchart explaining where each test result will lead him next," says Dr. Oz. If the logic flow of the tests doesn't make sense to you, tell him so.

5. If your doctor says: "If it doesn't clear up in a week, come back in."
What he means is: "I'm giving you a placebo. It might work or it might not."
Your response should be: "What are the worst-case scenarios?" If a doctor is interested in seeing you in a week, he's triaging problems. "Plus," says Dr. Oz, "it gives him a chance to experiment, since no one therapy works on everyone."

6. What your doctor will rarely say: "You need a second opinion."
What you should be thinking: "Second opinions change a diagnosis and treatment a third of the time. Why isn't he recommending one?"

Your response should be: "If I went to another high-quality doctor like you, what's another legitimate approach he could offer me?" Any good physician should be able to offer you a plan B, says Dr. Oz.


leezee52 said...

Thanks for sharing!

Drowsey Monkey said...

That's funny. Geez, where does Oprah dig up these annoying creatures anyway? LOL Dr Phil, Rachel Ray, Dr Oz ... is it just me or are they all really annoying people? LOL LOL

Candid Carrie said...

I was waiting for the explanation of why the can't just say what they mean. When I say, does this make me look fat ... I really mean does this make me look fat.

Lauren said...

Lee - You are very welcome!

Drowsey, Hmmm I like Dr. Oz very much. He gives very well thoughtout reasoning and answers that I feel help us to be empowered to make our own decisions. Perhaps it is just you?

Carrie, You're not fat!

Drowsey Monkey said...

Maybe it's me. I find him informative ... just annoying ... like, why does he always wear scrubs? LOL

Lauren said...

Drowsey, so basically you throw the baby out with the bathwater? Hmmm

CupidsReviews Heidi said...

I must say his bedside manner freaks me out a little bit. Wonder when he will get his own show? His wife can give people Reiki massages while he rants.........? Hey a Reiki master trumps Robin McGraw any day!

Lauren said...

Heidi, glad you think that about his wife because as it turns out I am also one too!