By Vincent Ujumadu

THE Chief Medical Director, CMD, of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Josephat Akabuike has said that the 55 years life expectancy in Nigeria is still among the lowest in Africa, describing it as worrisome.

Akabuike, a former Commissioner for Health in Anambra State, at a lecture he delivered during the health week organized by the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, in Awka observed that if the average year of deaths in the country is taken, it would not be more than

55 years.

According to him, lifestyle contributes so much to cause of deaths, adding that high blood pressure, which he described as a silent killer, is the most common.

Akabuike said: “Most of the time, high blood pressure (hypertension) has no obvious symptoms to indicate that something is wrong. The best way to protect yourself is to be aware of the risks and to make changes that matter.

“Many people with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it because often times the signs and symptoms are misunderstood.

“High blood pressure develops slowly over time and can be related to many causes.High blood pressure cannot be cured, but it can be managed effectively through lifestyle changes and, when needed, medication.”

Also speaking, another medical practitioner, Dr Amaechi Nwachukwu said most of the untimely deaths were self-inflicted.

Nwachukwu blamed legislators in the country for poor health facilities, arguing that with good legislation, the executive would be compelled to establish at least one-stop quality hospital in each state of the federation.

He urged Nigerians  to always check their health status  and to take  issues of their health seriously.

He added: “Oftentimes I hear people say since I was born, I have never visited a hospital. Those persons making such statements are time bomb waiting to happen. These days that sudden death happens, we should be careful about our health.

“Many people move around with explosive hypertension. We need to go for regular check-up for blood sugar and blood pressure and also rest properly.

“There have been records of underserved or avoidable deaths and these can be minimized through constant health check-up.

“One not checking his health status is a time bomb waiting to happen. We should be careful with our health.”

Anambra State Commissioner for information, Mr. Paul Nwosu, who declared the ceremony open, described journalism as an energy-sapping profession that involves a lot of mental stress, urging the practitioners  to always make out time to unwind to avoid sudden breakdown or ailment.

He also advised them to  shun bad lifestyle that emanate from the pressures of the job.

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