Lying to your doctor can be deadly. Here are 10 secrets not to keep -- and a few useful tips for dealing with the really sensitive subjects.

We know what we should be doing to live healthier lives -- eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, refrain from smoking or drinking too much -- but as we also know, this doesn't always happen. Who wants to confess that we haven't always followed 'doctors orders' 100 per cent or be seen as less than a model patient?

While it's tempting to say what we think the doctor wants to hear, it's clearly not in our best interest to do so. How, after all, can you get the best treatment if your doctor doesn't know what's really going on? Here are 10 secrets not to keep from your doctor -- and some useful tips for dealing with the more sensitive subjects.

What you need to tell your doctor

martiniAlcohol, smoking, illegal drugs

Anyone at any age can have a problem with substance abuse. Be honest with your doctor about how much you drink, smoke or take any illegal drugs so that any health problems can be accurately diagnosed and treated. (Alcohol in particular can become a problem in later life, partly because the aging process affects how the body handles alcohol.) Keep in mind there are strict privacy laws between a doctor and patient, so the information will not be shared.

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Cynthia Ross Cravit