There’s more than one way to get sick during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just ask internal medicine specialist, Nora Tossounian, M.D., who’s seen a number of patients dodge the virus but still suffer after postponing their routine wellness checks.
“People have delayed visiting the doctor for fear of catching COVID with some harmful health consequences including worsening diabetes, depression, heart and kidney disease,” said Dr. Tossounian.
More than one third of adults aged 18-64 years in the United States delayed or went without medical care over the last year, according to a new report from the Urban Institute.
Among the adults, surveyed, who postponed or missed care, 32.6% said the gap worsened one or more health conditions or limited their ability to work or perform daily activities. “I was very lucky,” said one grateful patient of Dr. Tossounian who was encouraged her to come in for a wellness visit despite COVID. “The doctor found something suspicious on my lung and it turned out to be lung cancer, thankfully I’m now getting treated,” said the patient.
It’s being called the “Spillover Effect of the Pandemic” and it already seems to be driving alarming health trends, including excess deaths not attributed to COVID-19, according to at least one study.