According to the Association of Medical Colleges, there are over 135 specialties and subspecialties in the medical industry in America. The variety is wide, from pediatrics to geriatrics, and it’s also broad, as you can go from general surgery to orthopedic surgery of the spine.
It shouldn’t surprise you that there are different tests and procedures. Given all that, sometimes patients might forget that there isn’t a blanketed approach to prepare for a doctor’s appointment or diagnostic test.
For some of them, you are obligated to fast. For others, you have to skip a part of your routine to go to a regular checkup. If you don’t know for sure what you need to know before a doctor’s appointment and you hate when you’re caught unprepared, read this article:
Don’t wear perfume or cologne when you go to the doctor
Whether you smell like a field of flowers or the breeze of a tropical sea, smelling good helps you feel better about yourself. And if you think about it, this is exactly what you might need, especially in a stressful situation, like going to the doctor.
But unfortunately, going to the doctor is the last place you should spritz yourself for. For example, Dr. Jennifer Middleton explained that perfume can make her job even more difficult, because she has asthma, just like the other 8.4% of the US population. “When it comes to just talking,” she said,” it’s easy to avoid you if your perfume is too strong. But if I have to examine you, I’ll enter your personal space.”
Don’t drink coffee before you go to the doctor
For most of us, coffee is an absolutely essential part of our morning routine. We can all agree on that. Coffee helps us get through the day much easier, especially in stressful moments, such as a doctor’s appointment.
So why wouldn’t you want a cup of coffee before your appointment, right? But as we found out, coffee can throw off a test on most standard checkups. According to Dr. James Dewar, physician and vice chairman of family medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, having coffee or other caffeine such as cola in the first hour before your tests, can mess up your blood pressure and make the number artificially higher.”
Avoid eating before you take specific blood tests
If you ever asked yourself if you should fast before you do a blood test, the answer is partly yes. According to Medical News Today, doctors read the blood tests to have a better understanding if something’s off with your health.
While not all types of blood tests require some fasting, you should definitely fast for eight-ten hours before a blood glucose test. For example, having diabetes can lead to higher than normal blood sugar or glucose levels.
Obviously, eating and drinking can have an impact on your sugar levels. When it comes to a glucose test, your doctor wants to see how much sugar you have in your blood without any other “help” from outside sources.
NEVER wear deodorant if you have a mammogram appointment
While it kinda breaks down the old saying “never let them see you sweat”, when it comes to a mammogram, it’s better to sweat a little than to be misdiagnosed with cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, you shouldn’t be wearing antiperspirant or deodorant before any mammogram, because they might appear as white spots on an x-ray.
So in order to avoid repeating it in case something’s wrong because of deodorant, just make sure you wash your underarms before screening to make sure you don’t have any deodorant residue. If you’re still worried you might be smelling, try putting a gauze pad under your arms and let them absorb the sweat.
Try not to wear metal when you do a CT scan or MRI
If you think about it, people wear A LOT of metal every day, including us. I mean, just picture wedding bands, watches, removable dental work. It isn’t difficult to forget these things, especially if you’re used to wearing a couple of metal items daily.
But you have to remember that there are some medical tests where you don’t want metal anywhere on your body. According to the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, patients with hearing aids, eyeglasses, hairpins, jewelry, or even dentures might throw off a Computerized Tomography scan (CT scan)’s images.
And given the fact that this test is necessary to detect tumors and other damages to your organs and bones, you don’t want there to be any mistake.
If your doctor recommends a colonoscopy, don’t drink orange or red liquids
If you like your orange juice in the morning or your red-colored electrolyte drink after a good workout, then make sure you don’t drink ’em before you go to a colonoscopy! According to Dr. Ashkan Farhadi, there are different preparations for a patient, depending on the type of needed colonoscopy.
Dr. Farhadi recommends a whole day of a liquid diet for everyone. Even so, these types of preparations that help clear your bowel mean that what you drink and eat is absorbed differently, because it’s faster. If you drink red or orange liquid, it might end up looking red or orange in the colon as well, and it can be confused for blood.
Don’t drink alcohol before you go to a doctor’s appointment
We all know that as humans, we have a complicated relationship with alcohol. Even if some types, such as red wine, have medicinal properties, drinking alcohol before a doctor’s appointment is definitely a no-no.
As “Verywell Health” explains, alcohol might throw off the results of a cholesterol test, only by indulging in heavy drinking every now and then. And since this test can determine if you’re at risk for a stroke or a heart issue, you don’t want to mess with this test.
In order to avoid any possibility of having an inaccurate cholesterol test, you shouldn’t drink any type of alcohol 24 hours before your procedure.
Don’t eat before an ultrasound without checking with your doctor
Most people would think of ultrasounds when it comes to monitoring pregnancy, but this type of procedure is also used to noninvasively check someone’s liver, eyes, gallbladder, spleen, kidneys, blood vessels, pancreas, but also reproductive parts.
So, the way a bat uses sound waves to avoid objects in the dark, the same way your doctor uses an ultrasound to see images of your insides. But, now it becomes complicated because it all depends on the type of ultrasound. If you’re about to have an ultrasound on your abdomen, then you’ll need to fast for eight to 12 hours prior.
Try not to eat salty foods before you go to the doctor
There are some people that might prefer chocolate and other sweets when they’re nervous, and others who might want to open a bag of chips. If your doctor is currently investigating your hypertension, then you should temporarily say goodbye to those unhealthy goodies.
As Medical News Today explains, hypertension, or high blood pressure, might lead to some serious medical problems, such as stroke and heart attacks. Did you know that blood pressure goes down after eating? Well, the reverse happens when you eat foods that are high in salt. Without realizing it, you could be artificially spiking up your blood pressure before going to the doctor.
Don’t do your manicure/pedicure if you’re about to see a dermatologist
I know you haven’t thought about it, but doing your manicure or pedicure before a dermatology visit might really mask one of the deadliest forms of cancer. As Dr. Alexa Boer Kimball explained, director of dermatology clinical trials at Massachusetts General Hospital, if you’re about to go visit your dermatologist, you should take your nail polish off if you’re having a skin check.
Moles and melanomas can hide underneath the nails. Melanomas are extremely serious forms of skin cancer, and sometimes they can appear on skin that has no moles whatsoever and seems completely normal and healthy. Also, make sure you bring along any beauty products if you’re using something that might cause you irritations.
Never smoke before surgery
If you’re a smoker, this means that any surgery you would possibly need will require you to stop smoking for a while. Surgeries are more complicated for smokers than for those who do not smoke. In fact, pulmonologist Humberto Choi explained that smoking before any surgery might put you at a higher risk for postoperative heart attacks, pneumonia, or even death.
And the reason for this is weirdly simple: it’s more difficult for anesthesiologists to keep smokers breathing while they’re under anesthesia.” On top of that, wounds heal slower for those who smoke than for those who don’t like smoking.
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