Dr Chyrell-Lyn Mananguite checks a person on Friday free medical check-up service offered by Prime Medical Centre in Bur Dubai. Image Credit: Karen Dias/Gulf News

Dubai: Filipino expatriates who keep on ignoring their medical problems are walking health time bombs, doctors here warned.

"The good thing about Dubai is that it has strong medical insurance system. Unfortunately, a big subset of Filipinos here don't have medical coverage. Most of them have become accustomed to putting off urgent medical conditions because of financial considerations or because they don't understand the urgency of the problem," Dr Daffodils Guevarra, a physician at Prime Medical Centre (PMC), told Gulf News.

Lanitess Gayac, 44, who has lived in Dubai for 17 years, is one of the many "walking time bombs waiting to explode" in the UAE, according to Dr Chyrell-Lyn Mananguite of PMC.

Gayac was diagnosed 20 years ago with hypertension and ischemic heart disease, a condition wherein blood supply to the heart is reduced. She has not been religiously taking her medicines for various reasons.

"Even with her knowledge that she has ischemic heart disease, which could lead to sudden cardiac arrest if left untreated, she has been taking her condition lightly because she doesn't understand what her condition exactly is," Mananguite told Gulf News. "I've always known that something could go wrong but I don't really know what exactly. Now that I have a full grasp of the gravity of my condition I no longer have an excuse to ignore my doctor's advice," Gayac told Gulf News.

Mananguite, the newest addition to the pool of medical specialists at PMC, pointed out that lack of patient education or health awareness that can lead to serious problems can be avoided. "It is the responsibility of doctors to explain to patients what is happening to them. Patients are not doctors; they can't give you a clear picture of where the abdomen is if it is really the abdomen that they're referring to," she said.

Another way to establish health awareness is to remove language barriers. According to Mananguite, communication is key to get to the root cause of the medical problem. "The more comfortable your patient is in expressing his ailment, the better it is for you. Thorough investigation and physical examination are very important in that you can taper down the types of tests you need to make; health is not a hit-or-miss affair," Mananguite said.