By Dennis Agbo
THE Nigerian Cardiac Society, NCS, (cardiologists) has advised people to prevent sudden death by ensuring that they eliminate risk factors that expose them to heart attacks, cardiac arrests and ensure that they abide by the prescription of their doctors.
The cardiologists disclosed that the reason for increased sudden death was because of what they call risk factors; things that one has that put one at risk more than the person who does not have them.
They said that things like elevated blood pressure, diabetes, higher cholesterol, physical inactivity, poor diet that is high in calorie, put people at the risk of developing obesity among other health challenges.
“They give rise to this problem and these risk factors are increasing in our population. For example the artery or the pipe that supplies blood to the heart becomes excluded and the individual develops heart attack. But apart from that, even the commonest cause like slumping and dying, they may not even have brain attack or stroke. These are the things that put us at risk of dying suddenly in our country,” the cardiologists said.
They made the disclosure during their 48th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Society in Enugu, last weekend.
National President of Nigeria Cardiac Society, Dr Okechukwu Ogah, who fielded questions from newsmen advised that if one has blood pressure and it’s not treated, he or she is at risk, same as if one has diabetes and it’s not well controlled.
“If you are not physically active- if you are not moving about exhausting excess energy that you have, you are putting yourself at risk. If you smoke, you are at risk, then excessive consumption of alcohol. Other things happening in our society such as use of illicit drugs put people at risk of some of this condition.
“At the population level, we have duties to preach just like people in the church preach to win souls, we also preach to win souls too and convert you to our side so that you listen to our message.
“The message of cardiologists is for people who have high blood pressure to see their doctors and do what their doctors asked them to do. Take their medication to control their blood pressure, sugar level, be physically active, don’t smoke. If we do this, the likely hood of developing some of these things will be reduced,” Okechukwu advised.
On how government could help in such situations, he said that government’s help may not be optimum, but noted that it was the government that employed cardiologists in the first instance for them to attend to patients.
Okechukwu, however, said that there is a policy for non-communicable diseases and that it was for those documents to be made to be active, to be functional for those things they have written there on how to control cardio-vascular diseases to be implemented.
“Apart from the one that Nigeria has, we have adopted from World Health Organsiation, WHO, World Heart Federation and we are members of these organistions. It’s for us to talk about it, even at the primary level and secondary level of control risk factors for cardio-vascular diseases.
“Our health care need to be more functional, availability of drugs and Health Insurance has to be put in place, then the community including the press because even in Europe and America, the press are the champions of cardiac care.
“Our mission is to make sure that our people have good cardiac health. We use the opportunity of the annual conference to interact and share knowledge, to look at where we have deficit or gaps in knowledge and see how we can bridge some of the gaps. We also learn from data that is coming out from different parts of the world in order to help us improve cardiac care in Nigeria,” Okechuku said.