Heart doctor says culture of politeness could harm health
A heart specialist yesterday claimed people needed to question their doctor and get a second opinion if they have concerns about a medical diagnosis
Christopher Irobunda of the New York Presbyterian Hospital, said people had to be confident when dealing with their doctors.
Dr Irobunda added: “People need to be assertive with their doctors. That is one thing that is critical – it is about asking more questions when in doubt.
“In Bermuda, they are very polite and just say ‘well, my doctor said that …’. Patients need to be their own advocates.”
He was speaking at a virtual presentation to the Hamilton Rotary Club.
Dr Irobunda has been a regular visitor to the island over the last six years to treat patients through the Bermuda Heart Foundation
He said that the culture of politeness on the island meant patients accepted the advice of medics without question.
Dr Irobunda, who specialises in interventional cardiology, added heart disease rates in Bermuda were high – but that preventive measures could reduce the numbers.
He said stress had become a major factor in heart disease rates as it could lead to risky habits such as smoking, a failure to eat well and exercise and consuming too much alcohol.
Dr Irobunda highlighted that the Bermudian diet appeared high in processed foods, which could cause high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity – all triggers for a heart attack.
He said: “Stress is one thing that can really change the dynamics of a person and expose them to those critical risk factors that can lead them to heart disease.”
Dr Irobunda added that it was important for people to have regular check-ups so that risk factors can be identified early.
He said: “With any kind of heart disease, the best way to do anything about it is early identification.
“If we can identify these elements in time the likelihood of people dying from heart disease is quite low.
“It’s important to make routine visits to your doctor, keep physically active, and be proactive about your health.”