Diabetes tests which are critical for “preventive care” have fallen by 65% in America amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report has shown.
The findings have been collected by Komodo Health, a US organisation which has a large medical claims database.
The company’s Chief Executive Dr Arif Nathoo said: “We’re seeing a tremendous impact on preventative care. It speaks volumes as to how much COVID is impacting everyone’s health and wellness.”
The report also shows a clear pattern that health screenings have reduced the most in areas that have been hit the hardest by coronavirus, such as Manhattan in New York where HbA1c diabetes tests have fallen by more than 90%.
Dr Wasif Saif, who runs the Northwell Health Cancer Institute on Long Island in New York, told The Post newspaper that one of the “biggest commonalities of life is fear”.
He added: “People are afraid to go to medical centres. I think that’s going to have a huge impact on humanity.”
These figures have sparked concern that people with underlying, serious health conditions will be missing out on treatment they urgently need.
Speaking to Reuters News Agency, Dr David Tom Cooke, head of general thoracic surgery at UC Davis Health, said: “We’re not doing cancer screenings, such as mammography for breast cancer, and lung cancer screening. There is concern that we are delaying standard care of treatment for patients with potentially curable cancers.”
In the UK, many diabetes services have moved to virtual clinics so patients and healthcare professionals can adhere to social distancing measures.
Although most routine appointments like the annual diabetes review have now been cancelled or postponed. People with diabetes are being advised to keep checking their feet daily, try to keep active and eat a healthy diet in a bid to control their diabetes and avoid developing any related complications, which might require hospital treatment.