A third of adults have off going to the doctor for ongoing health symptoms since the pandemic began, research reveals.
In a study of 2,000 adults, two thirds of participants who would have normally visited their GP with a health concern have stayed away due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Conditions endured during the past 12 months – without treatment – include constant headaches (24%), anxiety (23%), and stomach pain (15%).
One in six have also had prolonged coughs, 11% have experienced breathing difficulties, and around one in 10 have noticed 'unusual' lumps – all without seeing their doctor for advice.
The research, commissioned by Bupa Health Clinics, found 42% have stayed away because they didn't want to 'waste' doctors' time or resources.
Four in 10 assumed the problem would simply go away and 14% avoided getting treatment because they were 'too embarrassed'.
Dr Naveen Puri, lead physician for Bupa Health Clinics, said: "While the pandemic has put some aspects of life on hold, it is essential we still prioritise our health.
"Most conditions can be easily treated, especially if diagnosed early, but leaving concerns unchecked could have more serious implications.
"Likewise, getting peace of mind is important too and can stop people from worrying.
"It takes a lot to shock a doctor, and we've honestly seen it all before, so there is no need to be embarrassed."
The study also found 77% consider the pandemic to be 'a wake-up call' in relation to their health.
And four in 10 have become more aware of their mental health in particular during the past 12 months.
However, 46% are getting increasingly fed-up with worrying about their health as the lockdown has continued.
Dr Puri added: "The pandemic has thrown our physical health into the spotlight, while also placing increased pressure and focus on our mental health.
"We're hearing this from customers during their health assessments.
"As well as seeking ways they can improve their physical health, they also want advice on managing their mental health."
The pandemic has also seen a rise in health anxiety, as the research carried out through OnePoll found 67% are worried they have a condition they're unaware of.
Further to this, 55% fear they wouldn't be able to spot warning signs of serious conditions and are unclear on the potential dangers of unexplained lumps, aches and pain.
Dr Puri added: "This is another reason that regular check-ups are important.
"Things like smear tests and male cancer checks can identify and treat any problems that might otherwise be missed.
"Regardless of whether people leave with a treatment plan or simply reassurance about their health, the benefits of visiting the doctor are clear."
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