Ikechukwu Ogah, a Consultant Cardiologist, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, has raised the alarm over the number of Nigerians dying of heart diseases.
According to Punch Metro, Ogah spoke at a seminar in Lagos where heart specialists gathered to sensitise members of the public on the dangers of heart failure in the country.
Ogah also said it was high time Nigerians paid attention to their lifestyle by going for regular medical check-up in order to pick some life-threatening diseases earlier.
“Heart disease is deadlier than HIV and all forms of cancer except that of the lungs. This is because 50 per cent of people living with heart disease don’t live for more than five years before they die.
“The commonest cause of heart disease is unmanaged hypertension and it is the reason why we advise patients to avoid anything that will raise their blood pressure levels. A healthy lifestyle and good diet will go a long way in reducing the cases of heart failure in Nigeria,” he said.
Another Consultant Cardiologist with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Prof. Amam Mbakwem, who described heart disease as an epidemic, called on government and pharmaceutical companies to subsidise the cost of medications.
Mbakwem said many patients with hypertension or heart disease could not complete their treatment as they were unable to pay for their drugs, a condition, she said had increased mortality rates.
The heart specialist, however, said that most importantly, Nigerians must be educated on the symptoms and signs of heart failure to reduce the number of sudden deaths.
Mbakwem said, “A lot of our patients don’t understand us when we tell them their hearts have failed. They ask how come they are alive if their hearts have failed? They believe that once your heart fails, you must die. Nigerians should know that the fact that you’re walking and working does not mean your heart has not failed, you could fall sick at any time.”