| 12.1°C Dublin

Love vital to stopping sickness – professor

Love can play a vital role in stopping people getting sick, according to a medical expert.

And doctors need to switch their focus from treating sickness to preventing people becoming patients in the first place, said Professor Louis Hugo Francescutti.

The leading doctor told a weekend symposium of Irish medics in Dublin they need to do more to make Ireland a healthier place to live.

"Don't underestimate the importance of love in health. Having somebody to love you and being able to love somebody is essential," he said.

The professor, who is president of the Canadian Medical Association, told the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland: "We know what makes people sick and it's up to us to change it. Lift up your eyes from the bedside and become more involved in advocacy for health."


He said the majority of diseases could be prevented, if the focus was on prevention.

Prof Francescutti said: "Why focus on treatment, when we could be thinking of risk factors that are making patients sick?

"The three main risk factors affecting people's health are smoking, inactivity and poor nutrition and they relate to 50pc of the disease burden. Doctors should be asking patients about these three risk factors."

He said Ireland should make wellness a national priority and this required 'political clout'.

"We should challenge our politicians to do this. We have the knowledge. It just requires the will," he said.