Putting Your Health On Hold.

Across the entire health care sector, we are currently seeing many patients deferring treatment, including seeing their GP for regular check ups and monitoring of chronic health conditions.

It makes sense though doesn’t it? Nobody wants to leave the house at the moment. Nobody wants to place any unnecessary burdens on our already overwhelmed health care system either. So they are putting off getting those blood tests, getting their blood sugar or blood pressure checked, getting a PAP smear or whatever else they would normally see their GP for.

Is this you? Or someone you love?

It is so easy to put your health at the bottom of the priority list when we are in a time of crisis. How many of you are parents who are now acting as teacher and technical support/IT services for your kids who are at home 24/7? How many of you are also trying to adjust to working from home on top of everything else? How many of you are out of work and dealing with significant financial stress? These things all seem so much more important when you are in the moment, and it is only when you are on the other side of the crisis that you can reflect back and understand the missed opportunities when it comes to your health.

I want to talk to you about the importance of continuity of care, especially for those who are in the middle of treatment (e.g. antimicrobial treatment for SIBO) or who have a chronic health condition (e.g. type 2 diabetes). I also want to address the impending mental health crisis that will hit this country like a freight train when all of this is over.

I came across this image (credit: Victor Tseng, twitter) that I had to share with you – because it is important.

chronic disease mental health preventative health diabetes cholesterol hypertension blood pressure heart disease chronic disease mental health preventative health rutherglen howlong corowa chiltern yarrawonga wodonga albury wangaratta barnawartha northeastvictoria

Right now, the government and the media are focusing on the immediate crisis and trying to manage the number of cases to avoid overwhelming our hospitals. Beyond this first stage, along with stage 2 which includes those who survive ICU and require further medical care, come waves 3 and 4, which in my view are much more significant.

The third wave is exactly what I have been discussing in this blog post so far – the sudden increase in people requiring medical care because they did not seek help or manage their health condition throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The irony is that most people are avoiding health care because they do not see it as a priority right now and do not want to burden our health care system, however current projections show that the burden will indeed be higher after COVID-19.

The message is clear: look after yourself NOW.

More than ever, your own self-care is critical, not only for minimising your risk of acquiring the virus, but also for reducing your need to access further medical care in future. Prevention is better than cure.

I treat a significant number of people in clinic for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and other gut issues, and many are on antimicrobial treatment as part of their health care plan. It is absolutely essential to continue this treatment wherever possible, to avoid relapsing and essentially having to start all over again.

I also work with people with autoimmune disease, respiratory disease such as COPD, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular health issues including hypertension, all of whom are at significantly increased risk of developing complications from COVID-19. It is critical that they continue to manage their health throughout this period.

For those of you who already struggle with mental health issues including anxiety and depression, it will be essential to develop strategies to cope with the new world we find ourselves living in. Accessing Naturopathic care during this time will help you to feel supported, give you specific nutritional advice and herbal support if needed and develop those coping strategies that will work for YOU.

When all of this is over, we will be forever changed – there is no doubt about it. Many Australians will be deeply affected financially, some will experience burnout and far too many will be looking to our medical system for support with mental health issues. I fear for our suicide rates over the next 6-12 months. Stage 4 is going to be significant.

Again, I cannot stress enough the importance of PREVENTATIVE care. We don’t have to wait to reach stage 3 and 4 to act. If you prioritise your health and do what you need to do to truly look after yourself now, you won’t become one of those statistics.

Prioritise yourself. Ditch the guilt. Your loved ones need you and you are no good to anyone when you are sick.

If you need help, please reach out and ask for support. I would love to help you.

Denise

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CREDIT: Thank you to Naturopath extraordinaire Rachel Arthur who inspired this post and shared the image with me.