Obesity creating crisis

Heart disease problems growing

The man in charge of heart care with the Health Services Authority believes obesity in the Cayman Islands is getting out of hand.


Obesity is getting out of hand in the Cayman Islands.
Photo: File

Mr. Kevin Coy, visiting consultant cardiologist with the HSA, says if action is not taken immediately, it will lead to a significant increase in heart disease – already Cayman’s biggest killer.

‘I think the problems of being overweight, physically inactive, having a lack of proper diet and nutritional information is very common in the Cayman Islands,’ he said.

Obesity is also leading to other related diseases, he said.

‘In a number of the Caribbean islands, this is an issue, but in Cayman, I will tell you, obesity, childhood obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol problems – they are all very prevalent in the Cayman Islands.’

Mr. Coy began with the HSA in March, but spent seven years here prior to Hurricane Ivan, which destroyed his private practice.

An international specialist in cardiac catheterization, pacemaker implantation and other heart and coronary artery diseases, Mr. Coy has also worked in a number of other Caribbean Islands and has a private practice in Biscayne, Florida.

He said a majority of patients he sees in Cayman are overweight, with women increasingly the worst. By the time he sees these patients, the disease process is often already in motion, he explained.

‘We need to have some initiatives in educating the population. There certainly needs to be a move towards helping people become physically fit again and becoming more active and eating the right foods. I think that comes from not only educating the children in schools, but physician education and nurse education to parents.’

In the next month, Mr. Coy will be making a wide ranging submission to both the HSA and Health Minister Anthony Eden about how cardiac services can be improved. In it, he will urge government to adopt an across-the-board strategy to combat obesity.

‘A big problem in Cayman is prevention. There are so many patients that need proper diet instructions and a number of other things that help them.’

Mr. Coy is spending three days per fortnight at the George Town Hospital, seeing up to 60 patients per stay. Though waiting lists for his services are long, Mr. Coy has implemented a triage system to ensure that patients in need of urgent care are seen quickly. Slowly, he thinks he is making inroads.

‘I’ve seen a lot of patients over the last few months and many of those patients, basically their cardiac problems are sorted out, and they are initiated on treatment regiments. The idea is to get in early to treat cardiac problems before they get worse.’

Anyone with cardiac concerns can make an appointment with Mr. Coy by calling the HSA on 949-8600.

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