February is the month dedicated to the heart. Who better to speak about the heart than a cardiologist, so we spoke to ours: Dr. Judit Seidner. Dr. Seidner, is apart of the handful of staff who have been with FirstMed since the very beginning, receiving one of the very few 15 year service awards last year. In additional Dr. Seidner also works as one of our internists. Let’s read more about her below.
How did you become a cardiologist?
Well it wasn’t the usual “it all started in the nursery” type of story. In actuality I had several interests during the third year of secondary school, this being the time students choose the academic direction they would pursue. I was not alone in this indecision, as many of my classmates also weren’t sure which path to take. One thing I have always liked is a challenge, so I decided to apply for a spot in the medical university, which had always been one of the most difficult universities to get admitted to. I succeeded.
At the end of my studies there came another quest and another challenge: selecting a medical specialization. At the time it was
quite difficult to find work in a hospital’s department of internal medicine, as it was seen as being the ‘in thing’ in medical practices. That fact marked my path towards internal medicine.
|During the month of February FirstMed offers a special price on a cardiovascular risk assessment designed to give a basic result of your heart health and uncover possible risks which may require additional monitoring.|
By some stroke of luck I was awarded a full year’s scholarship in America which I spent in a cardiology department. When I came home there was no doubt that I would become a cardiologist. After passing my exam in internal medicine I went straight to the cardiology exam and then started working at the National Institute of Cardiology (GOKI).
I had the chance to return to the US for shorter periods of time. I was able to study vascular ultrasound at the Mayo Clinic, often ranked as #1 in all US hospitals, as well as a few weeks with general practitioner’s office in upstate New York. The time spent in the US was a chance to experience the professional and effective work flow which was the norm there. The healthcare system in the US worked like clockwork when I was there, which I very much enjoyed. Returning to Hungary I replaced my full-time work with the Institute with a consultant role; even now I still spend one day a week there.
How did you come to your position with FirstMed?
Some may say that it was pure luck. My father noticed an article in a paper that announced the development of the new, English-speaking, ‘American Clinic’ in Budapest. Since I didn’t have any direct connection to the management, I went there and introduced myself to one of the doctors, Dr. Éva Dános, and the current medical director. One short meeting was quickly followed by another one but this time with the director of the clinic. It wasn’t much past this point, in February 1999, I began working for FirstMed in Hattyúház as its cardiology consultant.
We started with one consultation a week, which later got expanded with the growing need. On top of the general practice, cardiology was one of the first specialty services offered, and we started with very little equipment. We quickly solved the early logistical challenges, and began acquiring more essential equipment. Soon we got a stress EKG, followed by a Holter monitor, but we had to wait another two years for our first ultrasound machine. Of course by today we are using state-of-the art ultrasound equipment that facilitates even more precise diagnostic testing. We are especially proud since it is rare to find such a sophisticated machine in use in a private practice.
You are one of the few doctors who work at both clinic locations: Hattyúház and Hűvösvölgy. Is there any difference between the types of consultation you provide at each?
It is important to highlight the difference since there have already been misunderstandings about it. While I am able to provide consultations as an internist at both locations, as a cardiologist I am only available of appointments at Hattyúház. The main reason for this is that all of the equipment I would need for a cardiologist appointment is located just in our main location in the Hattyúház.
Examinations that do not fit in the category of outpatient care and hospitalization are organized through our partners.
What are the most common conditions that lead people to search out a cardiologist?
Most often it is other doctors who send me their patients after finding discrepancies in test results, for example, persistent high blood pressure or a heart murmur. Of course there are complaints that people tend to find where they come to me directly such as chest pain, heavy breathing, asphyxia, swelling of the legs, or feeling of arrhythmia. Unfortunately a great number of patients think they recognize their own symptoms from among the flood of information found on the internet, but as laypeople they usually get confused and misdiagnose therefore they refer to trusting a trained specialist.
What preventive measures would you advise to take to keep your heart in good shape?
Stress is a smooth criminal, although it is almost a cliché to blame everything on it. You can hear about the benefits of a stress-free life through a variety of media channels while our whole world seems purposely built to pile on stress. Politics, our workplace, even our immediate environment can trigger negative stress. I think that the more it is talked about, the more we feel it on our skin, which then we need to handle somehow. We all should be able to find our own ways to fight stress, be it meditation, yoga, or other methods of relaxation.
|Stressing out over your state of health tends to worsen it in itself.|
Healthy eating and regular exercise remain important factors to our heart health, which most people are well aware of, yet still find difficult to actualize. Fitness should find its due place in our box labelled: “duties” together with other important jobs. We should schedule and complete regular workouts dutifully even when lower resistance would pull us elsewhere, just like heading off to work even if we do not exactly feel like it. We do ourselves good with both actions.
Should we get a blood pressure monitor for home?
In general, I would not recommend it. If the device shows any temporary discrepancy from the commonly accepted value, we tend to get nervous about it. An abnormal reading may still be within the normal range, but it may cause an increase in stress. If you do not have any other complaints and your doctor doesn’t explicitly advise you to, I do not think it is necessary to check your blood pressure daily. However, it should be checked at least once or twice a year during a doctor’s visit or a regular checkup.
By the way: does the annual health check contain cardiological elements?
Our regular health screening, the Health Maintenance Exam, has an initial comprehensive and thorough Q&A portion and a physical exam. If the patient has complaints that imply cardiological issues, the examining doctor may decide to refer them for further specialist examination. Additionally there is a cardiovascular assessment where the medical staff goes through current and past medical history, blood work to look for markers of possible cardiovascular disease, and some routine tests. If you wish to request a cardiology specialist visit or examination without a GP referral, you can do so in private medical centers, like FirstMed.
During the month of February FirstMed offers a special price on a cardiovascular risk assessment designed to give a basic result of your heart health and uncover possible risks which may require additional monitoring.