Coronavirus Digital Discussion: How COVID-19 is impacting our health in other ways


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – While many are wearing masks for protection from coronavirus, it seems some are letting down their guard when it comes to preventing other illnesses.

Dr. Margaret Baumgarten, with EVMS Portsmouth Family Medicine, told, “Most of my patients who I saw in the clinic over the past few weeks were very concerned about weight gain, about their chronic medical problems being not as well controlled.”

She is seeing patients who’ve gained 10-15 or 20 pounds in a few months. “Excessive eating definitely contributes and again affects your overall health; increases your chance of high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis, so many things associated with obesity.”

Along with healthier eating, Dr. Baumgarten prescribes moving more often, as many of us are strapped to computers or cell phones.

“If you’re staying at home, getting up and doing jumping jacks in place or walking around your house or taking a few squats or whatever your physical ability is would be extremely helpful,” she said.

Start with 10 minutes at a time and work your way up. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise five times a week is the goal.

While we’re counting, the doctor advises limiting the number of alcoholic drinks you consume.

“The general rule if you’re a woman and taking more than one drink a day you might be drinking too much and it’s something for you to consider to cut down,” she advised.

For a man, it’s two drinks a day. More than that, over the long haul, can contribute to chronic disease.

In all of these situations Dr. Baumgarten reminds us early intervention is the key. “Because a lot of those things, again, are preventable if you recognize it in the beginning.”

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