October 3, 2017

Worry as more Nigerians succumb to sudden deaths


…As expert links over 44% of deaths to hypertension

By Chioma Obinna

Indications have emerged that more Nigerians are dying of sudden death even as an expert has raised the alarm that hypertension remains the major cause of sudden death in the country.

Hypertension is an asymptomatic disease and a recent national multistage survey gave a total of 13,591 Nigerians – 44.9 percent prevalence. It is expected that the prevalence continues to rise and to affect 1.5 billion people worldwide.  Currently, the prevalence in Nigeria is about 30 –45 percent.

Hypertension test

Making more revelations in his lecture entitled:  “Sudden Death – Medical and Socio-economic Implications”, Associate Professor/Consultant Anatomic Pathologist, Department of Pathology & Forensic Medicine, Lagos State University College of Medicine/Teaching Hospital, Dr Francis Faduyile said sudden death is now common in Nigeria, hence the need to address it.

Almost 1 in 10 deaths

Faduyile who spoke during the 33rd Annual General Assembly and Awards 2017 of the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, APBN, in Lagos last week, disclosed that sudden death represents 9.5 percent of all deaths received over a six year period in LASUTH.

Regretting that no death is expected, he said males are more affected than females with a ratio of between 1.3 – 1.8:1 and peaks at 5th and 6th decades of life.

Presenting a six year study at LASUTH, Faduliye said majority of sudden deaths recorded at the hospital showed that hypertension accounted for 44 percent of all Brought In Deaths, BIDs with mean age of 52 ± 14.0 years.

Faduyile added that the 5th and 6th decades were the commonest age group of death amongst the male and female gender respectively.

“Other non- hypertensive causes accounted for 56.1 percent of sudden deaths.  These other causes include cardiovascular – 25.5 percent, Asphyxia 23.0 percent, Gastrointestinal  16.5 percent, Respiratory  15.1 percent, respiratory causes such as tuberculosis among others.

Lamenting that sudden death rips people’s lives apart, he described it – according to the World Health Organisation,  WHO, – as death occurring less than 24 hours from the onset of sudden changes in previous clinical conditions.

Noting the socio-cultural and socio-economic Implications of sudden death, Faduyile said the ages affected are usually the active workforce of any country, hence the need to take up the appropriate lifestyle and necessary precautionary measures.

Recommending prevention than cure, he said there is need for regular blood pressure check and for hypertensives to be compliant with medication, rise above the myths as well as avoid stress.  He also urged Nigerians to observe at least four to  five hours of rest every day.

“Regular blood pressure check, at least twice a year, observe regular exercise, and need to improve maternal health care, guide against obesity, apply more precaution when handling electrical cables, avoid NSAIDs, prompt and proper treatment of asthmatic attack, prompt and appropriate treatment of diarrhoea and vomiting, treat that cough appropriately.

Sudden death is of great concern to public health, and most of the causes are highly preventable and can therefore be easily averted. “There is a real need for us all to embrace healthy living and put up necessary precautionary practices.”

Also speaking at the event, the President of APBN, Dr. Idris Omede, urged  government to patronise and recognise bodies like APBN to ensure key development policies and programmes for any nation that seeks economic growth and better health for citizens. “The APBN is a collective point, where professionals from different sectors of the economy brainstorm the way forward for economic development.”

We have not gotten the adequate recognition and patronage we require from the government and as an association, we are making case for regulatory bodies that are in place by the act that are establishing them. These bodies are not functioning and for those regulatory bodies to be constituted by law, it means they have a function to play.”