Am I Allowed to Skip the Scale at the Doctor’s Office?

Am I Allowed to Skip the Scale at the Doctor’s Office?

For many, the biggest fear of seeing your doctor is stepping on the scale and having their weight announced. Research shows this fear can be so intense that many would-be patients will forego seeing their doctor altogether because they don’t want to be weighed. Because of this, patients may skip important health screenings, such as mammograms, prostate exams, pap tests, or colonoscopies. This, sadly, doesn’t have to be the case, because you have a right to refuse to be weighed for most appointments.

You can cope with your weigh-in anxiety by asking not to be weighed. If you know you have to be weighed for some medically necessary reason, you can request that the clinician not to say your weight out loud, and you can stand backward on the scale or keep your eyes closed during the weigh-in. Take a deep breath and take comfort in knowing that for many trips to the doctor’s office, it isn’t necessary to be weighed. This can actually improve your mental state and improve your health.

It’s important to know your body weight doesn’t paint the entire picture of your health. Your doctor uses many other measures to gather information about your overall health, from your blood pressure readings to lab work, and what you tell them about your lifestyle. It’s essential to be honest with your doctor, even though that, too, might make you fear judgment. By sticking with your primary care doctor over time, you will begin to develop trust and a rapport where you feel you can speak freely. Remember, too, that physicians are healthcare professionals and are an objective person you can confide in without fear of judgment.

When Is it Necessary to Be Weighed for a Doctor Appointment?

Particular doctor’s visits do require you to step on the scale as medically necessary. For example, if you’re at the doctor for a pre-op physical exam or to keep track of chronic health conditions such as chronic kidney disease or heart failure. Your doctor may need to know your weight to have a reference point and a baseline for if you come down with an illness later on, so they can look back at your past numbers and see how your weight has fluctuated. It’s helpful for your doctor to know when there has been a significant weight change, even though it’s a touchy subject for many. However, discussing your weight can lead to a productive conversation with your doctor, and it can segue into talking about your health and how you can lead a healthier lifestyle.

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