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  • Poor health symptoms have emerged in 53% of Aussies during the pandemic

    Author: HealthTimes

A telehealth doctor is urging the public to seek medical advice if they experience emerging health symptoms, after a survey found that surprising health issues have appeared in more than half the population (53 per cent) since the pandemic began.

The findings were derived from a survey of an independent panel of 1001 Australians, commissioned by InstantScripts, an award-winning telehealth service that has helped more than 350,000 Australians access primary healthcare.

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InstantScripts discovered that out of the 53 per cent of respondents who suffered poor mental or physical health symptoms for the first time, a greater proportion were over the age of 50.

Fatigue emerged as the most common symptom – in 21 per cent of respondents – increasing consistently with age. Just 22 per cent of under 30s experienced fatigue for the first time, compared with 43 per cent of 31-50s, and 35 per cent of over 50s.

One in five respondents (20 per cent) experienced mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, with the split being even between men, women and the different age groups.

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Insomnia and other sleep issues have presented in 16 per cent of respondents. The proportion of adults suffering from sleep issues increased with age: 21 per cent were under-30, 39 per cent were 31-50 and 41 per cent were over 50.

Back and joint pain impacted 16 per cent of respondents, with the proportion of sufferers increasing with age: 29 per cent of this group were under 30, 34 per cent were 31-50, and 37 per cent were over 50.

Eleven (11) per cent of respondents have been experiencing significant weight loss or weight gain, or regular headaches or migraines. A greater proportion of those who have gained weight (62 per cent) and have suffered headaches (60 per cent) were women. Weight loss or gain also impacted older age groups more, with 39 per cent aged over 50, compared with 38 per cent aged between 31 and 50, and 24 per cent aged under 30.

Seven (7) per cent have been having digestive or bowel issues, with 43 per cent of this group aged over 50, compared with an equal 28 per cent aged 18-30, and 31-50.

Dr Andrew Thompson, a registered doctor at InstantScripts, says: “It is alarming to see such a high proportion of Australians presenting with new and unexpected health conditions since the pandemic. I consult to over 100 Australians each week and have personally seen an uptick in patients seeking advice and treatment for new health issues, particularly mental health symptoms. However, some Australians may be delaying vital health checks and appointments with their regular doctor, potentially risking their health further.”

More than half (56 per cent) of respondents believe the pandemic has contributed to the rise of these health issues. The survey indicates that women are slightly more sensitive to the pandemic, with 53 per cent of women admitting their symptoms may have been induced by the circumstances.

Dr Thompson says: “Along with the sentiment of the Australian population, I believe the pandemic has been a strong contributor to new health symptoms. Not only has the last two years brought with it immense stress and uncertainty, but many Australians have had more sedentary, home-bound lives, due to continued restrictions, lockdowns, remote working and infection fears. It is now more important than ever for Australians to find ways to manage and combat any new health symptoms or issues, to prevent them from worsening and to allow them to continue living a full, healthy life.”

Dr Thompson recommends reigniting some of the activities and routines Australians enjoyed pre-pandemic. “Making the effort to return to the workplace, even a couple of days a week, can restore the socialisation and connections that some Australians may be missing, while maintaining previous exercise routines and eating habits will help improve physical and mental health and combat fatigue.

“I also urge Australians to seek regular doctor consultations to find the best treatment plan for them. For instance, doctors can establish mental health plans, which outline specific strategies to combat anxiety, depression and other mental health symptoms, while allied health professionals, such as chiropractors, can treat pain symptoms.

“For those who don’t have a regular doctor or struggle to access healthcare, due to isolation, blown out waitlists or ineligibility for Medicare-subsidised treatment, services such as InstantScripts can provide continuity of care. The consultations we administer on a daily basis provide advice and strategies to manage and combat many symptoms, along with medicines and pathology tests. The key is to access health options as early as possible, to effectively manage and treat symptoms before they potentially become more sinister down the track.”

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