A survey undertaken among the general population of India and commissioned by a top American hospital, Cleveland Clinic, has found that 29.5% of respondents had delayed regular check-ups and screening for known health conditions during the Covid-19 outbreak.
“The concerning trend emerging from this survey is that the very people who should not be avoiding the doctor during a pandemic – namely those with known health issues – are doing just that,” said Samir Kapadia, M.D., chairman of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic.
The survey also found that 24.3% of respondents had missed blood pressure checks and 16.1% had delayed cholesterol checks, while 24.3% had postponed annual physicals.
Dr Kapadia said, “Ignoring symptoms of heart disease or not maintaining regular health checks like blood pressure or cholesterol screenings can lead to serious health consequences, especially if you have pre-existing conditions. Hospitals, including Cleveland Clinic, are taking every precaution to keep patients safe while at the doctor’s office.”
Dr Kapadia added that the survey results are concerning due to the high prevalence of heart disease in India. According to a World Health Organization report, in 2016 India reported 63% of total deaths due to non-communicable diseases, of which 27% were attributed to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). CVDs also accounted for 45% of deaths in the 40-69 year age group.
Overall, the survey found that only 36.3% of respondents had not delayed any healthcare checks or screenings during the pandemic.
In addition to avoiding routine check-ups for known health issues, some respondents also delayed seeking medical help for health incidents that arose during the pandemic, such as increased blood pressure levels (11.5%), shortness of breath (11.2%), chest pain (9.3%), increased blood sugar levels (9.3%) and dizziness (8.9%).
The survey was conducted alongside its annual US-based campaign, “Love Your Heart” by the Cleveland Clinic Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute. Cleveland Clinic has been ranked the No. 1 hospital in the country for cardiology and cardiac surgery for 26 years in a row by US News & World Report.
Cleveland Clinic regularly welcomes patients from India seeking complex medical care at its US facilities. Interested patients can learn more here: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/patients/international/locations/india.
Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation.