CLEVELAND — As Ohio nears the one year anniversary of learning of the first case of COVID-19 within the state, medical professionals have noticed that fewer people are seeking routine care and that has them concerned.
On this week's episode of my 3 Things to Know with Stephanie Haney podcast, board certified family physician Dr. Neha Vyas, MD from the Cleveland Clinic Department of Family Medicine explains to me why that's a problem, what exactly is at stake if people miss important screenings and how health providers are keeping people safe during necessary visits.
"Annual exams and regular medical checkups are the first stage of identifying any underlying medical issues, and chronic health conditions," Dr. Vyas tells me.
Dr. Vyas noted a decrease in patients getting required screenings, as well as seeking emergency care, which she attributes in part to exaggerated fears over contracting COVID-19 at medical facilities.
We also discuss how Telehealth is a great option, especially for mental health needs, but the doctor covers when it just doesn’t cut it.
Plus, 3News reporter Amani Abraham shares why the Ledges Overlook in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the refreshing spot you Need to Know in NEO, and I break down why fitness, mindset and nutrition coach Lauren Masidonski is such A Good Follow on Instagram. Lauren is also the cohost a of the Cheeky Vibe + Peaceful Life podcast, where I was fortunate enough to join her and her cohost Michele Maas for a chat in May of 2020.
Scroll down for the video version and for links to listen on your favorite podcast platform
Discussing what's at stake if people miss standard care appointments, Dr. Vyas warns of missing early signs that could prevent serious illnesses from escalating.
"We do want to screen for high blood pressure, as you know it’s one of the number one causes of mortality and morbidity in the United States," she says. "The biggest things for cancers is certainly a delay in diagnosing these cancers, such as breast cancer or colon cancer or cervical cancer, actually results in the need for more invasive and costly treatments later on."
The Cleveland Clinic provided me with this year checklist as a guide for people to consider which tests and screenings to schedule annually:
- Primary care appointment
- Vaccines: flu, COVID, pneumonia, shingles, tetanus, and for our younger patients, meningitis, and HPV
- Mammogram for women
- Discuss the need for prostate checks (you might not need an internal exam, but it deserves discussion with your PCP)
- Pap smears for women (not yearly) for cervical cancer screening
- Mood disorder screening (especially important during pandemic)
- Colon cancer screenings (doesn’t have to be colonoscopy, there are newer tests which are not as invasive)
- Spirometer for our patients with asthma
- A number different things for our patients with diabetes
- Blood pressure checks
Dr. Vyas says people don’t have to miss these checkups due to COVID concerns, and that medical professionals are really going the extra mile to make patients feels safe.
"We're taking no chances to make sure patients are safe in this pandemic," Dr. Vyas says.
"We screen all patients that walk through our door with temperatures and also with questions, and we clean our facilities extensively, all the time. And in our facilities, despite some of us having received both shots of the [COVID] vaccine, we are still required to wear a mask."
For more on the medical care you should be making certain to keep up with, listen to the full conversation by searching for "3 Things to know with Stephanie Haney" wherever you get your podcasts, or follow your preferred link below:
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Check out more episodes of the 3 Things to Know with Stephanie Haney podcast at the links below.