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Foundation makes case for free heart checks in hospitals

By CHIOMA OBINNA

As part of efforts to debunk the myths concerning heart related diseases including stroke, the Chike Okoli Foundation, COF, has continued to canvass  for free heart  screening in all health facilities across the country.

At a recent week-long free heart check  exercise in Lagos to mark the 6th edition of  death of Chike Okoli, a young entrepreneur who died as a result of undetected coronary heart disease, experts said provision of heart screening equipment at all tiers of healthcare in the country would drastically reduce the incidence of sudden death among Nigerians, particularly the youths.

The experts who harped on regular medical screening as strategy in preventing CVD related deaths also blamed the rising incidence on unhealthy lifestyle among Nigerians due to sedentary lifestyles and consumption of high fatty unbalanced diets.

Statistics show that an estimated 40 per cent of Nigerians come down with CVDs  as a result of undetected high blood pressure.

Programme Officer, COF, Ms. Beauty Alfred, said the Foundation was set up to prevent Nigerian youths suffering from late Chike’s fate by reaching them with the save-your-heart message. She emphasised need for increased awareness about the problem.

“The Foundation’s Annual Heart Week has enabled us to see that many Nigerian youths are becoming hypertensive. Wrong lifestyle is one major reason Nigerian youths are coming up with heart disease in the sense that most youths are not careful of what they eat and they do not exercise enough. However, a few others have heart disease because of genetic factor.

“We have reached over five million people across Nigeria informing them on growing dangers of cardiovascular disease and how to make lifestyle interventions.”

In his lecture on Healthy Living and Preventive Options against CVDs”, a Cardiologist, Dr. Akangbe Oluwatobi said heart disease arises when there are problems with the heart or with the blood vessels.

“Fat coated blood vessels, for instance, can cause heart attack as it can make it difficult for blood to be circulated to the heart and from the heart to other parts of the body. When blood is not getting into the heart, the first thing one may start experiencing is pain in the heart.”

Oluwatobi noted that wrong diet especially those loaded with fatty and high cholesterol inducing foods were capable of blocking blood from flowing freely from and to the heart, thereby worsening heart problems.


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