‘Healthy lifestyle can prevent cardiovascular diseases’
A cardiologist, Dr. Okoh Basil Ewere has shed more light on cardiovascular diseases, which he referred to as “a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels…”
Speaking at a forum in Lagos, Ewere, a medical practitioner at Evercare Hospital, said: “Cardiovascular diseases are the major cause of death worldwide. In Nigeria, reports of the sudden death of previously apparently healthy individuals, either by slumping or not awakening from sleep, are on the incline. The possibilities are a result of a heart attack or stroke.
“This has been attributed to the influence of witches, wizards and ‘village people…
To prevent cardiovascular diseases, he recommended lifestyle adjustments and dietary modifications, such as quitting smoking, exercise, diet and healthy eating, alcohol limit, and stress control among others would be helpful. Summarily, Mortality from a heart attack is significantly high-so prevention and early detection is key.
He added: “The average life expectancy in Nigeria as of 2022 is 55.44 years as against 36.73 years in 1960. Thus, statistically, we live longer now with better health care facilities and probably, better-balanced nutrition than in 1960. This coupled with more industrialisation has brought a sedentary lifestyle, a more Western diet and attending obesity. Thus, creating a paradigm shift from communicable diseases like cholera to non-communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes and heart attack.”
He said: “Heart attack occurs when a part of the heart muscle does not get enough blood to function. When this persists, it can lead to the death of that muscle. This shortage of blood results from a blockage within the lumen of the vessel. This blockage typically consists of fat deposition, also known as arteriosclerosis and platelets within the lumen, leading to narrowing of the lumen and eventually, complete occlusion. This fat deposition did not just suddenly occur but has been accumulating gradually over time.
He continued: “Fats are naturally and gradually deposited in our arteries as we age. They are a part of the normal ageing process and not necessarily, harmful. But, this process is accelerated by some risk factors including hypertension, diabetes, smoking, abnormal cholesterol levels, family health history, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and age.”
He said heart attacks among the younger generation might not be due to fat deposition, but the use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and others.
When symptoms of a heart attack occur, the sooner the patient gets to an emergency room, the sooner you he can get treatment to reduce any damage to the heart muscle.