Pandemic or not, get your health screenings and maintenance examsBy Veita Bland, M.D. / March 4, 2022
This is a topic that I have covered before but the urgency of addressing this problem again is needed. So, let’s stop, unpack, and talk about the issue of health maintenance.
To say the pandemic has affected the health of many people is an understatement. It has brought to the forefront many health inequities that we see now see so clearly. The pandemic has shown that many people just do not have access to health care. It has also shown us that many people may not even realize what they do not have.
One devastating fact is that due to the pandemic, many people who had previously been diligent in obtaining their health maintenance exams have now fallen off the wagon. Due to the fear of catching the COVID-19 virus, perhaps in a healthcare facility, many patients have chosen to not get their maintenance and screening exams.
This has been devastating. Physicians and other heathcare workers are now seeing this horrific problem. We are seeing people who should have gotten their mammograms in 2020 finally resurface to get them in 2022. Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in the number of cancers being diagnosed. We are also seeing an increase in the severity of the cancers being identified.
Breast cancer is an extremely survivable cancer when found in the early stages. Due to women waiting to get their screening and presenting at a more advanced stage of breast cancer, we have observed more women requiring more advanced treatment and unfortunately more deaths.
This same scenario is also observed with people who have advanced disease.
Unfortunately, we are also seeing people present with sores on their bodies at a later stage. These open sores may have been festering for months. There has also been an increase in limb amputations primarily because patients have of wait to visit their healthcare provider.
The medical community has learned how to protect you. We have learned how to space patients out; how to clean after the visit; and protect your health. You will be safe when going in for your mammogram, bone density scan, colonoscopy, eye exam, dental exam, hearing exam, wound care or just a health checkup.
Remember, identifying a problem as early as possible and then addressing that problem are keys to proper care and health maintenance.
At this point, we may be faced with sequela of COVID-19 for many years to come. The damage the virus has done, even in mild cases, will haunt us in the future.
Do not be another victim of the pandemic by failing to get your screening and maintenance exams. Be proactive. Some illnesses do not have to happen.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.