Feature Archive

WebMD Survey: The Lies We Tell Our Doctors

45% of WebMD Readers Don't Tell Their Doctors the (Whole) Truth

By Daniel DeNoon
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

Sept. 21, 2004 -- Do you lie to your doctor? There's about a 50-50 chance you do, a WebMD survey shows.

WebMD invited readers to respond to an online survey. The nearly 1,500 responders told us whether, when, and why they don't tell their doctors the whole truth.

See what our readers say in part 1 of our three-part series.

Lying -- and Stretching the Truth

When patients don't tell the truth, they don't always think of it as lying. Only 13% of WebMD users say they have lied to their doctor. However, another 32% -- nearly a third - admit to having "stretched the truth" with their health care providers.

Younger patients -- aged 25 to 34 -- are more likely to lie to their doctors than are patients 55 and older. Younger patients are more likely to lie about recreational drug use, sexual history, and smoking than older patients are.

Men Who Lie vs. Women Who Lie

Men and women tend to lie about the same things -- except for drinking. Men are significantly more likely than women to lie about how much they drink: 24% vs. 15%.