Why heart attack is on the increase, by cardiologists
Cardiologists in the country, yesterday, said heart attacks are on the increase due to poor dietary intakes, physical inactivity, higher cholesterol and elevated blood pressure.
They also alerted that the rate at which Nigerians engaged in excessive alcohol consumption and move about with untreated blood pressure and diabetes was giving rise to heart attacks, urging government to develop a deliberate policy that could encourage access to medicare to check the trend.
Rising from their 48th yearly conference in Enugu, under the aegis of Nigeria Cardiac Society (NCS), the experts also observed that 30 per cent of Nigerians were living with hypertension, which according to them, was the commonest cause of heart failure and had worse prognosis than most cancers.
NCS National President, Dr. Okechukwu Ogah, and Secretary, Prof. Augustine Odili, at the end of the five-days conference, stressed the need for adequate funding of cardiovascular care in the country to stem the tide, adding that the trend would continue as long as the people continue to pay from their pockets, as against the postulations of the national health care Act.
While assuring of its continue evidence-based advocacy, as a major stakeholder, in shaping the political agenda for cardiovascular health in Nigeria, the Society called for deliberate and increased governmental and private funding for cardiovascular care, research and training and greater collaboration between the health sector and cardiovascular stakeholders.
They canvassed the inclusion of specialised cardiovascular care and services in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), as this would help in improving access to health services, the experts appealled to the federal government to facilitate the implementation of the cardiovascular health policy, and Nigerians to engage in healthy cardiovascular lifestyle, including reduction in dietary salt intake.
NCS also recommended the provision of ECG machines, point-of-care machines and thrombolytic agents, such as streptomycin, in every emergency room, in view of the rising rate of acute coronary syndrome (heart attack) in Nigeria.