The worldwide pandemic caused several people to lose their job. However, along with their job, they have also lost their health insurance. Moreover, many such people have either avoided or delayed emergency care, treatments, or procedures out of the fear that they might get exposed to the virus while visiting their physician.
Patients might face serious health implications by postponing essential care. However, the threat is much more serious for people who are living with chronic diseases.
Chronic Disease in the US
Heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are the most common chronic diseases in the U.S. However, there are several more chronic conditions like stroke, obesity, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. Every 6 out of 10 adults in the US are affected by one chronic condition or another. Four of them live with two or more chronic diseases. These conditions impact several body functions.
What happens if essential care is postponed?
The early months of the pandemic witnessed a decline of 42 percent in emergency department visits at the hospitals in the country. Few other reports claim that the number can be as high as 50 percent. Almost all physicians fear that the drop in patient visits might lead to an increased number of serious health complications, most of which might prove to be fatal in the future.
More than 60 percent of physicians believe that patients will have to deal with avoidable illness due to avoided or delayed care during the pandemic. Around 38 percent of primary care physicians believe that some of their patients might die from causes that are not related to COVID-19, just because they either avoided or delayed care during these months.
The threats are even more serious in case of chronic conditions. People suffering from such conditions can be vulnerable to fatal conditions if they continue to postpone medical care.
While the reasons to postpone medical care might sound justifiable, it is advisable to take necessary precautions and go to the physician for appropriate care. Moreover, telehealth services have opened up like never before. People can take advantage of such services without leaving the comfort of their homes or getting exposed to the virus.