Preventative Care Disrupted By the Pandemic: What Long-Term Costs Can Be Expected? — Part I

 

As COVID cases surged in the early days of the pandemic, many hospitals and clinics switched to “tele-health” or suspended certain services altogether. This was necessary during the initial period of uncertainty, as facilities needed time to prepare for a sudden influx of patients.

Unfortunately, the lasting consequences of waiting on preventative care are beginning to appear, especially among vulnerable patients who still remain at risk of catching the virus. The following are a few of the most concerning long-term issues:

Increased Risk of Chronic Conditions

When warning signs of chronic health problems are caught early on, it’s possible to take the proactive measures needed to halt these concerns in their tracks.

Those with pre-diabetes, for example, can adjust their diet according to doctor recommendations, and, in doing so, avoid the complications of type II diabetes. Without access to preventative care, however, patients may carry on with the status quo, and ultimately, increase the likelihood of developing full-blown diabetes.

Worse Outcomes for Severe Diseases

Health outcomes are nearly always better when conditions are caught in their early stages. This is especially true of cancer, which should ideally be identified and treated before it can spread throughout the body.

Colon cancer, for example, holds a five-year relative survival rate of 90 percent for localized diagnoses, compared to just 14 percent for cases involving the spread of cancerous cells to distant parts of the body. Without preventative visits, patients may be unaware of cancer or other diseases until they’ve reached the later, less treatable stages of the condition.

Preventative care may be difficult to obtain, but it’s as important as ever. Don’t neglect your health during the pandemic.