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Is COVID causing chronic patients to neglect seeking medical care?

With the rapid incline of COVID infections, SA has now officially moved to lockdown level 3. Since the "second wave", the healthcare system has been under tremendous pressure to ensure that COVID cases are treated in addition to others that also require hospitalisation diverting resources to those areas making it difficult for other case to be seen at these facilities. Many people have also become more cautious to avoid possible areas of high risk like malls, social gatherings and visiting medical facilities. However, there is still a need for healthcare and treatment of other diseases which are not COVID related such as regular medical checks of chronic patients and pain management. The fear of contracting COVID in have made some patients skip their regular check ups at their local clinic, GP or hospital in fear of being exposed to COVID. The problem is, the leading causes of death in the country such as tuberculosis, diabetes and heart disease have not suddenly vanished since COVID came along. Now more than ever, we need to ensure that those with these co-morbidities are well managed to prevent further risk of complications which will automatically place a heavier burden on the healthcare system. So how can we ensure that patients with chronic disease are maintaining their health? We need to encourage healthier lifestyles in order to control chronic disease of lifestyle like hypertension and diabetes better [1] . These conditions are also preventable [2] and can be managed but more emphasis needs to be placed on prevention and lifestyle changes. In Natural Medicine, major focus is placed on improving the patients lifestyle in these patients with chronic disease of lifestyle to improve their health, whether it is through food/healthy eating, exercise, detoxification or the use of regimental therapies and medication.

General guide for those with chronic disease:

  1. Monitor yourself regularly and don't ignore your symptoms. If you are diabetic or hypertensive, make sure you are checking blood pressure and glucose to see whether you are managing your condition and seek medical attention when you notice your levels are abnormal or if your are experiencing any symptoms e.g. chest pain, dizziness or shortness of breath.

2. Change your eating habits. Avoid sugar, processed foods and other junk foods that would further worsen your condition. Incorporate more fresh fruit, vegetables into your diet with sufficient water intake.

3. Take your medication regularly. Speak to your doctor about your condition or medicine dosages if you have concerns.

4. Exercise regularly. Start with light walking or yoga and increase intensity as your tolerance levels improve. This will help improve circulation, maintaining a healthy BMI, assist with insulin resistance and control glucose levels as well as improve your mental health.

5. Consult a practitioner to provide you with a lifestyle plan suitable for your condition to guide you on living a healthier lifestyle. If you have concerns or need advice about how to manage your illness consult a qualified practitioner, most doctors now offer telemedicine/ online consultations if you have queries and to identify if further intervention or treatment is required.



The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. Please consult a qualified practitioner if you suffer from any of the conditions mentioned.

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