3 Important Things To Tell Your Family Care Physician

Posted on: 3 March 2017

While it is essential that your family care physician knows about your personal and family medical history, it is crucial that you also disclose certain other aspects of your lifestyle. Doing so may help your doctor better evaluate diagnostic tests and to determine if your medical test results are due to certain lifestyle choices rather than the disease process. Here are three important things to tell your family care physician so that you get the most out of your physical examination:

Nutritional Supplement Use

Certain nutritional supplements can skew diagnostic blood tests which may lead to further, unnecessary medical tests. For example, taking calcium or vitamin D supplements can lead to a condition known as hypercalcemia, which refers to high levels of calcium in your blood.

Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements may falsely elevate your calcium levels, and because of this, your doctor may be obligated to order other tests, such as those that detect parathyroid disease or certain bone disorders. While a multivitamin may not alter your blood tests much, taking specific mineral supplements may falsely raise certain components of your blood chemistry profile.

Caffeine Intake

Ingesting too much caffeine may lead to unnecessary cardiac tests because caffeine can raise blood pressure and speed up your heart rate. If you drink a lot of coffee or eat large amounts of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, you may develop heart palpitations and a spike in blood pressure.

Because of these symptoms, your doctor may order an electrocardiogram, instruct you to wear a cardiac monitor for a couple days, or may even suggest that you take a cardiac stress test. During a stress test, you walk on a treadmill at various speeds and inclines while hooked up to an electrocardiogram monitor. If you experience palpitations, try avoiding or cutting back on your caffeine intake for a couple days to see if your heart rate slows down. 

Aspirin Consumption

If you take aspirin everyday, your blood will become less sticky, making it less likely to clot in a normal fashion. Aspirin inhibits platelet aggregation, so if your doctor orders a complete blood count, your platelet count may be abnormal.

In addition, regular aspirin use can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding. which may show up as anemia in your blood tests. If your blood work shows that you have a platelet abnormality or if your hemoglobin and hematocrit values are low, your physician may recommend that you stop taking aspirin for a couple weeks and then repeat your blood tests to see if aspirin was the culprit.

If you take nutritional supplements, consume large amounts of caffeine, or take aspirin regularly, tell a doctor at a practice like Crabapple Family Medicine. By doing so, you may be able to avoid unnecessary medical tests, which can be expensive and even anxiety-provoking.