Robert Taub is a Type 2 diabetic who had one big problem when the pandemic hit: access to in-person medical care.
“My doctors were offering Zoom conferences,” he said. "But they can’t take my blood over a Zoom meeting."
Taub had to delay seeing his doctor for six months and as a result, his health suffered.
"Everything that could be bad and wrong was just that,” he said.
Taub is like many Americans who did not get medical care during the start of the pandemic and even after.
"Unfortunately, we’re seeing very concerning indications that people are still delaying reconnecting with their doctor a year into this pandemic," said Donald Llyod-Jones, MD., who is president-elect with the American Heart Association and a cardiologist at Northwestern University.
He says a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows nearly 27% of Americans recently reported delaying or not getting medical care.
“We’re seeing this happen in all segments of the population,” he said. "But it’s particularly concerning, I think, among communities of color and in rural areas where access to health care already was somewhat tenuous."
Llyod-Jones says delaying checkups can take a toll on people’s health physically and mentally, adding that it also puts some people at higher risk for severe complications of COVID-19 infection.
“If you get it, it’s more likely that you will be hospitalized or that you’ll have severe long-standing complications if you have one of these chronic underlying conditions," he said.
When Taub eventually saw a doctor, he says it was the worst blood work of his life.
“My triglycerides were so high, they thought the test was wrong,” he said.
After getting the medical attention he needed, however, this Type 2 diabetic is better, managing his chronic condition one day at a time.
“My numbers are back down low again, and I’ve lost 11 pounds,” he said. “I’m on the right track home.”