In a bid to reduce the number of casualties caused by cardiovascular complications, the Nigerian Cardiac Society has urged the government to allocate more funds towards healthcare. This move aims to promote regular and timely screening for risk factors associated with heart diseases. In Ilorin on Saturday morning, a statement by the President of the Society, Prof. Augustine Odili, Secretary General, Professor Chizindu Alinkor, and Professor A.A. Akintunde, the Publicity Secretary, emphasised the significance of screening as the sole reliable means to promptly spot and effectively manage and prevent sudden fatalities among the general public.
The unfortunate demise of these Nigerian individuals serves as a reminder to prioritise cardiovascular well-being. Various physical activities and intense emotional experiences can potentially trigger irregular heart rhythms, heart attacks, or strokes, particularly in individuals with pre-existing heart conditions. All Nigerians must familiarise themselves with the indications of heart distress and understand the appropriate actions to take in emergency situations. Heart disease patients are advised by the NCS to strictly adhere to their prescribed medication regimen and heed their doctor’s guidance. It is recommended that they refrain from excessive exuberance during games and take necessary breaks.
Proper preventive measures and practising caution should be taken.
To combat the growing concern of cardiovascular disease in Nigeria, all citizens are urged to act calmly and together, implementing effective surveillance and population-focused preventive measures. Highlighting the deaths of four individuals during the Match, the Society emphasises the urgent need to address the cardiovascular health of Nigerians. They also emphasise the importance of precautionary measures for Nigerians prior to Nigeria vs Ivory Coast match. By taking proper preventive measures and practising caution, they can actively support their teams without compromising their health.
It is urged that all Nigerians join forces in supporting and encouraging each other to lead heart-healthy lives and prevent future tragedies by learning from the past. The statement also highlights multiple studies that have revealed a significant occurrence of various risk factors for cardiovascular diseases among the Nigerian population, such as metabolic syndrome, obesity, smoking (including passive smoking), recreational drug use, excessive alcohol consumption, and lack of physical activity. Multiple factors, such as cardiovascular risk, disease severity, genetics, and other triggering elements, influence the likelihood of sudden death. These recent deaths could potentially be linked to acute stress reactions, further amplifying the association between these fatalities.
Blood pressure should be managed to reduce the risk.
Furthermore, the Society’s statement highlighted the silent nature of numerous cardiovascular risk factors while also emphasising the importance of effectively managing blood pressure as a significant remedy for reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In Nigeria, hypertension stands as the foremost risk factor for heart disease and stroke, as stated by the Society. Regrettably, there is an alarming prevalence of high blood pressure among thirty percent of Nigerian adults, with a significant number remaining oblivious to their hypertensive condition. Even more dishearteningly, statistics reveal that a mere seven percent of individuals with hypertension manage to successfully regulate their blood pressure levels in Nigeria and other countries across sub-Saharan Africa.
Among these factors, the most significant ones are associated with individual choices and habits, like insufficient physical activity, tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, consumption of unhealthy diets abundant in salt and saturated fats, and limited intake of fresh produce. Additional factors that may contribute to risks include hypertension (high blood pressure), dyslipidemia (high blood lipids/cholesterol) and obesity. To stay informed and take necessary precautions, the Society also encouraged Nigerians to remain aware of their family history and individual risk factors, as well as prioritise regular screenings.
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Effective control of the ailment includes avoiding smoking, maintaining a nutritious diet, engaging in physical activity, and effectively handling stress. Keep emergency contact numbers easily accessible and promptly seek assistance when needed. It is preferable to forgo leisure activities than to endanger a life. Be vigilant for warning signs that can precede an unexpected demise, such as chest discomfort, difficulty breathing, feelings of sickness and the urge to vomit, lightheadedness, and episodes of fainting. NCS cautioned that one must never underestimate the seriousness of experiencing pain on the left side of the chest, emphasising the importance of seeking immediate medical attention.