By SOLA OGUNDIPE
Medical experts and practitioners in cardiovascular medicine have expressed worry over the rising incidence of Ischaemic Heart Disease in the country.
Expressing concern recently in Lagos, during the 5th edition of the Cardiovascular Summit organised by Pfizer Nigeria and East Africa Region, NEAR, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, Professor Oladipo Akinkugbe, who described Ischemic Heart Disease, also known as Coronary Artery Disease, as the “Next Epidemic” in Nigeria, called for drastic measures to be put in place to stem the tide.
In a presentation on the Nigerian Perspective on the disorder, Emeritus Professor of Cardiology of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Ayodele Falase, stated that previous studies in Nigeria revealed insignificant incidence of Ischemic Heart Disease compared with the developed countries.
Attributing the rise in the cases of Ischemic heart disease in Nigeria to increase in the standard of living which, enhanced adoption of western dietary habits especially amongst urban elites, Falase, urged the promotion of our local diets which contain less saturated fat as well as increased physical activity . He called for more emphasis for local diet and exercise.
On his part, Consultant Cardiologist, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Prof. Osaretin Odia, identified the modifiable risk factors as; hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidaemia, cigarette smoking and obesity, sedentary living, age and gender as the non modifiable risk factors.
Odia, who also suggested that Sub- Saharan Africa may be at the early phase of the epidemiological transition of the disease, recommended the following preventive strategies including: increased attention of health officials on the primary prevention of ischemic disease, community–based control of the major risk factors, control of hyper-cholesteronaemia through the modification of dietary habits and government‘s support especially in the discouragement of western dietary habits through its food and health regulatory agencies.
In his remarks, Country Manger, Pfizer NEAR, Enrico Liggeri, reiterated Pfizer’s continuous commitment to education of physicians and the general public saying the Summit is part of Pfizer’s contribution to the advancement of medical knowledge and patient care in Nigeria and the NEAR region.
Emphasizing the objective of the summit, Medical Director, Pfizer NEAR, Dr. Kodjo Soroh, said: ‘We need to get prepared for this prevailing CHD incidents and that is the essence of this Summit, to come up with some recommendations for government on how to stop the further rise of CHD.
Goal of the Summit was to raise awareness on the rising incidence of Ischemic Heart Diseases in Nigeria and seek cohesive preventive measures as well as actionable recommendations for the Federal government.
With the theme “Ischaemic Heart Disease”, the Summit provided a platform for healthcare practitioners to engage in discussion on the current trends in the disorder and its management.