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Preventing cardiovascular diseases

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Fruits and vegetables

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death globally, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and 17.9 million people die of the ailments yearly, representing 31 per cent of the world’s total mortalities.

In Nigeria, Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) account for 29 per cent of all deaths. CVD, predominantly hypertension is responsible for 11 per cent of all the NCD’s deaths that occurred prematurely in persons below 70 years.

Meanwhile, to mark the World Heart Day (WHD), September 29, experts have harped on the need to raise awareness and mobilise international action against cardiovascular disease.

They also highlighted the imperative to strengthen CVDs’ management in primary healthcare institutions with a view to reducing the high death rate.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos, President, Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF), Mallam Ismaila Shuaibu, said the initiative was for individuals, government, and the entire heart community to come together to engage in fun activities, increase public education and advocate for universal access to CVD protection, detection, and treatment.

He explained that CVD which comprises of hypertension, heart disease, and stroke are the world’s number one leading cause of death and disability.

Shuaibu noted that as part of measures to reduce the burden of CVD, the foundation is intensifying efforts to raise public awareness about heart disease and their associated risk factors including ways to promote cardiovascular health.

Also, former President, Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology, Mrs. Dolapo Coker, said the most important way to fight any ailment is to boost the immune system.

The nutritionist explained that food is the primary healthcare system of any disease urging the general population to take more fruits and vegetables.

Coker continued: “We are blessed in Nigeria because we have these vegetables in abundance. We need to educate the populace not to depend on fast food but on God-given organic food. Everyone can avoid CVD, the basic thing is good nutrition and also to make sure its awareness is heightened.”

She added that the government should lead an awareness campaign to let the masses realise things that are against health.

Coker, however, stated that there is no bad food rather every food must be taken in moderation.

Executive Director, NHF, Dr Kingsley Akinroye said that smoking, tobacco high blood pressure, and obesity are causes of CVD stressing the need for individual and societal behaviour change.

He added that it is vital to make access to healthcare, healthy foods, and a healthy way of life accessible and affordable to all people.

Akinroye said the theme for 2020 World Heart Day, “Use Heart To Fight Cardiovascular Disease” was to unite the global health community to beat cardiovascular disease and also ask individuals, communities, and governments to use the heart to make better choices for society, loved ones and ourselves.

He noted that the call to action is about using our head, influence, and compassion to beat the cardiovascular disease, the world’s number one killer.


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