Procrastination is not typically considered a good thing. But as the world spent much of 2020 confronting the COVID-19 pandemic, putting certain things on hold became part of the new normal.
In an effort to reduce infection rates, public health officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization urged people to limit their in-person interactions with people outside of their own households. As a result, many of the things people do on a regular basis, including seeing their physicians for wellness visits, were rescheduled.
Many people postponed preventive care and wellness visits during the pandemic, but the doctors at Southtowns Radiology say that doing so is potentially dangerous. For example, researchers say that childhood vaccinations declined by roughly 60 percent in mid-April 2020 compared with 2019. Other screenings and preventive exams, including mammograms, pap smears, and colonoscopies, also declined by significant percentages during the pandemic, compared to the previous year.
Dr. Travis Mastroanni, of Southtowns Radiology, says, “Physicians rely on medical tests that help physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Using CT imaging, we can produce multiple cross-sectional images or pictures of the inside the body that provide great clarity when studying internal organs, bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels, revealing more details than regular X-ray exams. Radiologists can therefore more easily diagnose problems such as cancers, vascular disorders, infectious disease, trauma, and musculoskeletal disorders. Our multi-slice CT technologies offer effective and patient-friendly exams with shorter scan times.”
The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDHP) says the benefit of preventive care is undeniable. The NCCDPHP points out that, while chronic diseases are among the most common and costly of all health problems, they’re also among the most preventable. Annual wellness visits and early detection efforts like routine screenings for at-risk populations can uncover problems before they escalate into something more serious. In addition, annual physicals, which are provided free of charge through many health insurance policies, provide great opportunities for doctors to advise patients on their overall health, and how to improve it if exams and blood work turn up any red flags.
As vital as preventive care can be, it’s understandable that people are hesitant to visit their doctors during the pandemic. But patients can take certain steps to calm their nerves about booking preventive care appointments during the pandemic including scheduling telemedicine appointments; inquiring about office procedures; and not hesitating to make requests such as paying copays over the phone and asking to be called when the doctor is ready, rather than sitting in the waiting room.
Preventive care is an important component of health care, even during a pandemic.
This article appeared on 1/1/2021 in Buffalo Healthy Living Magazine Online