The shutdowns and work from home conditions had broken up traditional routine and structures relied by many to stay healthy, namely that of diet and exercise. “A patient need to be looked at as a whole – their weight, age, sex and other health concerns. Most advice given on the Internet is very generic or not applicable to them. Health is not that straightforward and so there was a lot of misinformation that caused issues, ” said Dr Akila Mani, Consultant Physician and Diabetologist, Apollo Hospitals, Vanagarm.
Many doctors have noted that lifestyle issues like diabetes and hypertension has increased significantly. “When it comes to non-communicable diseases, it is definitely on the rise. Younger people are becoming diabetic as well, and the coronavirus has added risk to their health. Staying at home has not helped as many have developed uncontrolled sugar levels. This can also apply to conditions like obesity and infertility. These diseases will stay over for a long time, unlike infectious diseases,” said Dr Vijayalakshmi Balakrishnan, Senior Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Kauvery Hospital.
Accessibility to healthcare has also led so several patients ignoring or skipping medical treatment or consultations, say experts. “Rather than hospitals being accessible, people were very scared to come to hospitals. We therefore say patients with tuberculosis are not coming in for check-ups. We are seeing a delay in reporting of cases of strokes and heart attacks, as people were ignoring symptoms for fear of visiting. There were even pregnant women who came in for delivery without previous consultations. And this has continued even now, when the situation has become more controlled,” said Dr Spoorthi Arun, Internal Medicine Physician, Promed Hospital.
“The overall health of people in Chennai has deteriorated significantly over the last one year, there is no denying it. The shutdown could have been used as a means to control lifestyle diseases, but we missed that bus,” said Dr Shreevidya Venkatraman, Senior consultant, Internal Medicine, MGM Healthcare.