CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, some Americans are avoiding the doctor for fear of contracting the virus.
In fact, four in ten adults in the United States reported avoiding medical care because of COVID-19 concerns this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One local doctor CMC is concerned about what could happen if you decide to hold off on routine check-ups, like a mammogram or colonoscopy.
Dr. Paul Richardson, chief medical officer for Conway Medical Center, said delaying routine follow-ups can lead to increased problems.
For example, a common health problem many Americans struggle with is high blood pressure. Richardson said leaving high blood pressure unchecked can put you at higher risk for heart disease or even stroke.
He said diabetic patients who aren’t coming in or getting regular labs are also at higher risk for poor complications, like vascular disease, heart attack or strokes.
If you’ve decided to hold off on regular check-ups, now is the time to schedule a visit.
“Those things we may be saying oh those things can wait, maybe wait for now, maybe can’t wait there’s no guarantee in that,” Richardson said.
Richardson wants people to know when walking in the door of doctors’ offices, they’re safe and it’s okay to schedule appointments.
He said not only do they frequently wash their hands and practice social distancing, but they have plenty of protective gear.
“Please, please, please get in touch with your primary care provider and get back in the loop,” he said. He or she may be doing TeleVisits for some things that may be appreciated. Here at Conway, we are doing those but we are also doing in-person visits and you are very very safe.”