With the increased spread of coronavirus throughout our society, there are secondary impacts on our health that may be a bit of a surprise. With our daily lives disrupted, businesses shuttered, schools closed, and cities on lockdown, there is more than just one impact on our lives that stems from COVID.
The Impact Of Stress
Stress is another health issue that is on the rise in the COVID era. Stress can have short-term benefits, such as when we’re confronted with a dangerous situation and need a quick rush of energy and strength, our “fight or flight” reaction that we are biologically inclined as a mechanism to imminent dangers. But long-term, stress can lead to a whole list of health issues.
Stress can impact the body and the mind in profound ways. In the body, long-term stress effects can impact cardiovascular health, higher blood pressure levels, heart disease, chronic, intense headaches, and a weakened immune system. Psychologically, stress can affect your sleep, decrease libido, increase fatigue levels, and hamper cognitive skills and memory.
Stress And Weight Gain During COVID
One study based in Australia looked at the impact on our overall health due to the effects of COVID on our lives. The researchers looked at how overall health has deteriorated during various levels of stay-at-home orders, or “lockdowns.” And what was found is that during times of active stay-at-home orders are enacted, overall mental health deteriorates, anxiety increases, and weight gain was typical.
Some respondents claimed that the loss of access to gyms and pools led to increased anxiety, loss of overall motivation, fear of the unknown about the virus, and comfort eating was the most common result.
So what can be done with all the impacts on our health? If you are stressed out or suffer some form of anxiety, speaking with a therapist is an excellent first step. If your concerns are more physical and you need to lose some weight, create a plan to get back on track with your health.
Weight Gain And COVID Complications
There are a lot of studies that show a correlation between weight and severity from COVID infection. Suppose you find yourself wanting to lose weight or struggle to maintain a healthy diet. In that case, there are plenty of resources online and plenty of exercise and cooking videos found on sites like YouTube to offer different ideas and practices.
When taking a long view at all that has gone on in our lives while we’re living with the COVID pandemic, one thing that all too often is overlooked or gets short shrift in our physical and mental wellbeing.
As discussed, your overall health can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to severe side-effects from seasonal colds and flu, as well as from COVID. It’s a nasty spiral, the more stressed we get, the less we sleep and the worse we eat, and ignoring our physical health can lead to a deterioration of our health.
The sneaky thing about COVID is that many of the symptoms mirror those of seasonal flu and colds. A common cold is a form of coronavirus, but one that our immune systems have evolved to combat, and the severity of a cold is not like that of COVID.
COVID, The Cold, Or The Flu
Symptoms that are similar between colds, flu, and COVID are the typical aches and pains, fever or chills, a cough, runny nose, or sore throat. COVID symptoms differ because shortness of breath may occur in more severe cases, and a loss of smell or taste is common among those infected.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms and are worried about whether they stem from COVID or other diseases, getting a test is crucial if not for peace-of-mind and vital to slow down the disease’s spread. The first thing you should do is contact your doctor for advice and possibly schedule a coronavirus test.
Once it’s determined that a coronavirus test is needed, there are plenty of options available for your COVID exam. You may choose to receive one from a county program, schedule one from your primary care physician, or even choose to have the privacy and convenience of an at-home covid test; click here to check out Everlywell’s option. Depending on the test results, it’s advisable to stay home until such a time as your symptoms end and you have a negative test.
COVID’s Impact On Existing Health Conditions
Another health-related impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is the worsening of existing medical conditions. Individuals diagnosed with everything from diabetes and high blood pressure to autoimmune diseases and cancer is getting worse. Doctors and medical specialists have reported that their patients aren’t coming in to get the care they need. Afraid of contracting the virus, they prefer to stay at home and manage on their own. While this may seem like an ideal solution, it only makes things more challenging. Failure to keep up with doctor’s appointments, fill and take prescriptions, and undergo treatment complicates their conditions. As individuals with existing medical problems are at a more significant risk of contracting COVID-19 and suffering severe symptoms, patients who ignore their health face an uphill battle.
Though these are scary times, you cannot overlook the importance of managing your health. Contact your doctor to find out about telemedicine and prescription delivery options to ensure you’re getting the care you need. If you suspect something is wrong, head to your doctor or a nearby hospital for further evaluation. As long as you wear a mask and follow social distancing regulations, you should be fine.
Even as the nation undergoes the coronavirus vaccine’s mass distribution, we’re not out of the woods yet. As such, everyone is encouraged to remain vigilant in prioritizing their health. Maintain a well-balanced diet and fitness routine, manage your stress, keep up with existing medical conditions, and seek help if you feel like something is wrong. In the end, it is these practices that will reduce your chances of contracting the virus and weathering this storm with your health intact.