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World Heart Day: Making hearty choices is Important

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As the world marks World Heart Day today, Dr. Olayide A. Jinadu, Medical Director at Charis-Med Hospital, Lagos wants Nigerians to make healthy choices in lifestyle, diet, and general wellbeing. By Geraldine Akutu 

What should Nigerians know about world heart day?
World Heart Day was created with the intention to increase public awareness of cardiovascular diseases, including their prevention and their global impact. In 1999 the World Heart Federation (WHF), in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO), announced the establishment of World Heart Day. The idea for this annual event was conceived by Antoni Bayés de Luna, president of WHF from 1997–99. World Heart Day was originally (until 2011) observed on the last Sunday in September, with the first celebration taking place on September 24, 2000.

How can we protect the heart?
By watching what we eat, regular exercise, regular medical checkups, at least annually and staying knowledgeable about signs and symptoms of heart issues. We belong to a society where the average individual believes that ignorance is bliss. I am afraid that is not the case in this regard. People would rather stay oblivious of the state of their heart than otherwise. It is very expedient you find out if there are underlying hereditary cardiac issues running in the family, rather than it catching you unawares. The common cardiac issues are Hypertensive heart disease, Cardiomyopathy, Ischaemic heart disease, and Congenital anomalies.

Hypertensive heart diseases occur as a result of non or poorly regulated blood pressure. This is a very common condition as a lot of hypertensive Nigerians, both diagnosed and undiagnosed disregard the need for proper blood pressure monitoring. Cardiomyopathies are usually common with athletic people; it involves problems with the heart muscles. Ischemic heart diseases occur as a result of poor blood supply to the heart, it could be genetic or acquired as a result of a high cholesterol diet.

Congenital heart diseases are as a result of one genetic problem or the other. Most of the above heart diseases can be managed if discovered early.

What food types are friendly to the heart?
A balanced diet cannot be over-emphasized, everything in its right proportion.

The following foods should be avoided for a healthy heart. High Cholesterol diet, that is very fatty foods, frying with high cholesterol-containing cooking oil, egg yolks for adults and Indiscriminate use of margarine, mayonnaise, butter, etc. Food with high salt content. Heart friendly foods are fruits, vegetables, fish (seafood in general), lean meat, etc.

What lifestyle would you recommend for Nigerians of all ages?
Since we live in a generation of ease, where things are done automatically, it is advisable to exercise more often to prevent a sedentary lifestyle.  15 minutes brisk walk, five times a week could suffice, registering in a local gym with a trainer of whom you are accountable because exercise takes a great deal of discipline and commitment.

Drink more water instead of fizzy drinks and beverages. Eat lean meat instead of red meat, reduce snaking frequently, regular check-up and blood pressure check is paramount. Children are also encouraged to get involved in one sport activity or the other.

How can government policies bring about better heart care?
By creating more awareness on heart issues, regular jingles, free or heavily subsidized cardiac screening done at health centers nationwide. Encourage regular cardiac care training among doctors and nurses to update skill and knowledge.


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