By Chioma Umeha
Following the World Heart Day marked recently, Cardiologists have raised alarm over imminent epidemic of heart failure among Nigerians even as the World Heart Federation, WHF, called for action to prevent 80 percent of premature deaths from Cardiovascular Diseases, CVDs annually.
The experts lamented that most of the patient are artisans, who cannot afford the cost of one admission for heart-related disorders. Speaking in Lagos, a Consultant Cardiologist, Prof. Anam Mbakwem, lamented that heart failure patients require between four to five hospital admissions in a year, with each admission costing about N150,000 ($500).
She said at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, between 20 to 30 per cent of all admissions at the hospital are related to heart disease and these patients are in the middle age.
Mbakwem said: “A lot of them are artisans or junior civil servants. More than two thirds of our patients are depressed. Some stop taking their drugs and some discharge themselves due to lack of funds to continue treatments.”
She blamed rising rate of the disease on the nature of the environment, factors including stress, pollution from smoking vehicles and generators, salty diets, refined carbohydrates, saturated fats among others.
Also speaking, a Consultant Cardiologist, Prof. Jane Ajuluchukwu, who advocated healthy lifestyle, attributed poor diets and ignorance as factors that are driving the epidemic of heart diseases in Nigeria. Warning against the intake of herbal products, she said: “It is not everything that is natural that is healthy. Many bitters and natural herbs contain chemicals that could weaken the heart muscles.”