Dr Ramon Moronkola, a consultant cardiologist, has called on government authorities to formulate policies directed at protecting citizens from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
Moronkola, who practises medicine at Kleinburg Medical Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.
Cardiovascular diseases or heart diseases are disorders of the heart and blood vessels including coronary, cerebrovascular and rheumatic heart diseases among other conditions.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death accounting for 17.5 million deaths annually with high blood pressure found to be the leading risk factor for CVDs.
A 2018 research by WHO also indicates that cardiovascular diseases’ prevalence rate in Nigeria currently stands at 11 per cent.
Moronkola said that government policies that would regulate the amount of salt allowed in prepackaged foods sold to consumers would serve to prevent the development of heart diseases.
“Salt is the primary source of sodium and increased consumption of sodium is associated with hypertension and increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
“Policies to effectively regulate salt intake, as more citizens embrace processed foods will help to protect the citizens’ health,” he said.
Moronkola said that early diagnosis and prompt management of hypertension, abnormal cholesterol and diabetes would also help to protect the heart.
“People should avoid long sitting, embrace a healthy diet option and also exercise. Exercise is a known means of reducing cardiovascular disease,” he said.
Moronkola cautioned that exercise should be prescribed by medical experts, adding that intensive exercise could lead to cardiovascular complications in some individuals.
He stressed the need to avoid tobacco intake and harmful use of alcohol; consuming fruits and vegetables, reduction of salt in food and regular physical activity would reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.