MARION, OHIO – More than 40 percent of American adults have avoided or delayed receiving medical care because of concerns about COVID-19, and people with multiple underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, are significantly more likely to avoid urgent or emergency care compared to people without these conditions. This included 12 percent of adults who chose not to seek or avoided getting urgent or emergency care.*
Delaying or avoiding necessary medical care has been associated with a host of negative health outcomes.
“We are realizing across the country that many people have neglected their health in the last year due to COVID-19 protocols. The fear of going out to a medical center or hospital has been a real issue for some,” said Curt Gingrich, MD, president, OhioHealth Marion General Hospital. “As a family medicine physician, I’ve seen the negative effects associated with avoidance of routine care. Over time, patients miss screenings, ignore signs of healthcare issues and even struggle with management of chronic conditions, which could worsen long-term outcomes.”
“Regular screenings along with things like blood pressure checks and quick action when something is off are key to maintaining health and improving outcomes,” he added.
Matthew White, MD, Marion General Emergency Department physician assures that EVERY precaution is being taken with patients and visitors entering our facilities every day. “We screen everyone who comes through our doors, we provide masks, our staff still wears masks, COVID patients are isolated and we have a strict sanitation policy across the board. I assure you that the chance of acquiring COVID-19 in the hospital, a physician practice, or outpatient facility is very low, and not worth the risk of ignoring serious health issues or missing critical screenings,” he added.
* Source: CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Medical professionals advise to not put off seeking care. This is especially true when it comes to heart attack or stroke symptoms. These are cases where irreversible damage can be done if medical attention isn’t sought quickly. As a result, here are some symptoms that should be taken seriously:
- Heart attack: Prolonged or severe pain in the chest especially if it spreads to the left arm, confusion, shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating and a low or elevated heart rate. Sometimes symptoms are different for women including nausea; anxiety; stomach pain; arm, jaw or leg pain; cold sweats; light headedness; extreme fatigue; and, heart palpitations. “These are all signs that you need to get help quickly,” added White.
- Stroke: Alex Perchuk, MD, vascular neurologist at Marion General states that when a patient has a stroke, 1.9 million brain cells die every minute; this translates into 4-5 days of independence lost every minute. Treatment options depend on getting to the ED quickly.
Marion General is supported by a dedicated team of stroke neurologists who can rapidly evaluate the patient with stroke symptoms and facilitate initiation of a treatment plan. When and if stroke symptoms occur, Remember to BE FAST:
- Balance problem
- Eye problem (double or blurred vision)
- Face droop
- Arm (or leg) weakness
- Speech- slurred or can't find your words
- Time to call 911
In addition, it’s critical to stay on top of blood pressure readings, prescription refills and regular screenings including colonoscopies and lung cancer screenings; mammograms and cervical screenings for women; and prostate checks for men, which all can provide early warning signs of cancer.
For more information on regular screening recommendations, visit https://www.ohiohealth.com/services/cancer/our-programs/ or talk with your primary care physician.