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Mayo Clinic doctors urge patients with underlying health conditions to stay updated with health checks

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — Mayo Clinic doctors are urging people with underlying health conditions to get checked by their health providers.

On Tuesday, a cardiologist and an infectious disease doctor expressed concern over people with health conditions like heart disease or cancer patients not making appointments during the pandemic.

“We did see a rise in people just not showing up. And frankly dying at home from things that could have been intervened upon. Strokes, heart attacks, even bowel obstructions,” said Mayo Clinic Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Pritish Tosh.

He said patients are afraid to go into medical facilities, because from fear of contracting the virus.

“Their chance of dying or having a worse outcome or a severely bad outcome, that alone, is higher than the risk of getting infected with COVID-19 in a health care environment,” said cardiologist Dr. Joeg Hermann.

Tosh said at the beginning of the pandemic, many health care providers were urged to stop elective procedures. However, medical professionals soon realized those types of appointments can save lives.

“In hindsight, we realized that some of these weren’t as elective as we thought. Cancer screenings is important, and delaying cancer screenings can in aggregate lead to the development of cancer that could of otherwise been identified and stopped,” he said.

Tosh said meeting with health providers online is a reliable tool for doctors to evaluate the health of patients who are home.

“Telemedicine is going to be a valuable resource to patients to physicians as we try to access those people who are acutely ill with something that could be COVID but also with people’s normal everyday medical problems,” Tosh said.

He also said masks are an important tool to protect people with underlying health conditions and that wearing a mask does not prevent oxygen from entering the lungs.

“One thing to think about is the people who have the lung capacity such that they would have difficulty breathing while wearing a mask, that would suggest that they are at high risk of complications if they were to get the virus. These are especially people who need to be wearing masks and social distancing,” he said.

Related story: “Don’t wait,” Mayo doctor warns about delaying breast cancer screenings.

KaMaria Braye

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