World Heart Day: How to avoid 80% of heart-related diseases – NHF

The Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF) says 80 percent of premature deaths from heart diseases can be addressed if tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol and air pollution are controlled.

Addressing a news conference in Lagos on behalf of the NHF, Mrs Dolapo Coker, Member, Nutrition Committee of the foundation, stressed the need to address carbon emissions by the government to reduce cardiovascular diseases.

She said that the World Heart Foundation (WHF) was calling for urgent action on climate change and health inequity, saying millions more lives now at risk from cardiovascular disease, “which is still the world’s biggest killer.”

“The year 2022 has seen historic heat waves and, with climate change disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable populations, we can expect a further widening of the gap in global cardiovascular healthcare equity.

“Climate change and related air pollution is already responsible for 25% of all deaths from cardiovascular disease, killing 7 million people annually.

Quoting Prof. Fausto Pinto, President of WHF, Coker said: “Millions of already vulnerable people are doubly exposed to extreme weather events and limited access to healthcare.

“World leaders must step up efforts on the two biggest threats of our time – climate change and global health inequity.”

Coker said that working hand in hand with the World Health Organisation (WHO), WHF was calling on governments, civil society, and global industry to meet net-zero targets, to tackle global warming and curb air pollution, and to deliver healthcare access for all .

“A new global survey by WHF highlights the global concern surrounding the link between climate change and cardiovascular disease with climate change and air pollution ranked as the third most serious issues in relation to cardiovascular health among the respondents.

“The survey also revealed that awareness of healthcare inequality is growing: in reply to a question about which global issues affected cardiovascular disease the most the second.

“The second most common answer was social inequality and access to healthcare.

“WHF is also urging healthcare providers to help improve cardiovascular health and prevent CVD mortality by issuing regular reminders to at-risk groups about the dangers of extreme weather events, including tips on managing excessive heat events.”

She commended all partner in the fight against heart diseases and promotion of healthy lifestyles in Nigeria.

In his goodwill message, Mr Foluso Ogunwale, the Chief Executive Officer, I Fitness, who described heart as most important organ in the body, decried prevalence of harmful lifestyles and physical inactivity among many Nigerians.

“If the heart is that much important, it means that at one point we need to match the brake and examine how we live over lives so that we can perhaps live a happy and healthier life.

“The issue of physical health, physical exercise and the issue of nutrition and harmful lifestyles that potentially cause heart diseases can be addressed,” Ogunwale said.

Another NHF’s partner, Quest Oil Group, said that the issue of heart health was a concern to the firm, hence the commitment to address carbon emissions to reduce heart risks.

Its Corporate Communications and Branding Manager, Mr Gerald Moore, said: “For us at Quest Oil, we believe that good health is good business and that is why we innovatively changed the energy mix that we provide our customers.

“We now have different systems that can change from fuel to gas. We have gas as our transition fuel. We also provide LPG which is cleaner fuel.

“We also started something innovative in our stations, which is to replace the existing fuel generators with the solar power system.

“We believe that will significantly reduce the carbon emissions and give out stakeholders the opportunity for a better health,’ Moore said.

In her remarks, wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, said it was extremely important that people desist from unhealthy lifestyles to build heathy population which in turn would enhance productivity in the state.

Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Mrs Patience Ogunnubi, Member, Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials, said that the increase in the statistics of cardiovascular disease called for comprehensive approach and strategy.

“This is to ensure that people are aware of the serious threat that the disease posed.”

She advised people to embrace deliberate lifestyles and choice that can help to address the trend.

Recall that the NHF has outlined a month long activities to mark the 2022 World Heart Day which include bike a Heart Route (cycling rides), medical health talks and check, walks, mini health exhibitions, distribution of fliers and i Fitness exercise.

More older adults should be checking blood pressure at home, study suggests

Only 48% of people age 50 to 80 who take blood pressure medications or have a health condition that’s affected by hypertension regularly check their blood pressure at home or other places, a new study finds.

A somewhat higher number – but still only 62% – say a health care provider encouraged them to perform such checks. Poll respondents whose providers had recommended they check their blood pressure at home were three and a half times more likely to do so than those who didn’t recall getting such a recommendation.

The findings underscore the importance of exploring the reasons why at-risk patients aren’t checking their blood pressure, and why providers aren’t recommending they check — as well as finding ways to prompt more people with these health conditions to check their blood pressure regularly. This could play an important role in helping patients live longer and maintain heart and brain health, the study’s authors say.

Past research has shown that regular home monitoring can help with blood pressure control, and that better control can mean reduced risk of death; of cardiovascular events including strokes and heart attacks; and of cognitive impairment and dementia.

The findings are published in JAMA Network Open by a team from Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan’s academic medical center. The data come from the National Poll on Healthy Aging and build on a report issued last year.

The poll, based at the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and supported by Michigan Medicine and AARP, asked adults aged 50 to 80 about their chronic health conditions, blood pressure monitoring outside of clinic settings, and interactions with health providers about blood pressure. Study authors Mellanie V. Springer, M.D., M.S., of the Michigan Medicine Department of Neurology, and Deborah Levine, M.D., M.P.H., of the Department of Internal Medicine, worked with the NPHA team to develop the poll questions and analyze the findings.

The data in the new paper come from the 1,247 respondents who said they were either taking a medication to control their blood pressure or had a chronic health condition that requires blood pressure control — specifically, a history of stroke, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease or hypertension.

Of them, 55% said they own a blood pressure monitor, though some said they don’t ever use it. Among those who do use it, there was wide variation in how often they checked their pressure — and only about half said they share their readings with a health provider. But those who own a monitor were more than 10 times more likely to check their blood pressure outside of health care settings than those who don’t own one.

The authors note that blood pressure monitoring is associated with lower blood pressure and is cost-effective. They say that the results suggest that protocols should be developed to educate patients about the importance of self blood pressure monitoring and sharing readings with clinicians.

Source: Science Daily

World Heart Day: Experts alert to steep rise in heart attacks, stroke in Nigeria

THURSDAY, September 29th was World Heart Day (WHD) and cardiologists have alerted to a steep rise in cases of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure in the country.

Heart diseases, also called cardiovascular diseases, are heart conditions that include diseased vessels, structural problems and blood clots. Most common types are coronary heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), cardiac arrest, heart failure, arrhythmia, peripheral artery disease, stroke and congenital heart disease.

The theme of WHD 2022 is ‘Use Heart For Every Heart.’ The World Heart Federation has created this day to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease.

Cardiologists in interviews with The Guardian and in recent publications said cases of hypertension rose by about 700 per cent in 25 years, from 4 million people in 1995 to 27 million in 2020 in the country.

They said over 11 million Nigerians are living with diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol levels. They blamed hypertension and diabetes for the increased prevalence of stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure.
They insisted that diabetes, obesity, smoking, socioeconomic transition, marked by a sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity and high consumption of fatty foods, are the main contributors to the higher prevalence of heart failure.

The cardiologists also identified a lack of community-level awareness, and high prevalence of associated conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, compounded by poor accessibility, and affordability of healthcare, as major barriers to the prevention of heart failure.

They said heart failure is associated with significant morbidity, and mortality and considerably impacts patients’ quality of life, as well as incurring substantial economic burden, with a total estimated cost of US $1.92 billion globally.

They said the chances that an average age a person will develop heart failure in Africa is significantly lower than elsewhere: Africa (53 years), the Middle East (56.4 years), North Africa (58.79 years), Asia (60 years) and Europe (70 years).

The experts include Consultant Cardiologist with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr. Akinsanya Olusegun-Joseph; Executive Director, Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF), Dr Kingsley K. Akinroye; and Consultant Cardiologist, the University of Port Harcourt and Chairman, Hypertension Working Group, NHF, Prof. Osarentin James Odia.

Others are Professor of Cardiology, Department of Cardiology in Casablanca, Morocco, Dr. Ahmed Bennis, and Professor of Cardiology at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, Dr. Eric Klug, in their study published Tuesday in the Journal of the Saudi Heart Association.

Meanwhile, to address the steep spike in heart diseases and the implications, the experts recommended massive awareness campaigns about heart diseases, causes and prevention with lifestyle changes that can keep the menace away.

They said energy drinks could predispose one to abnormal heartbeat, hypertension, heart attack and sudden death.

The cardiologists said palm oil is very good for the heart, but overheating or bleaching it can alter the property, convert it to bad oil, with increased chances of causing heart disease.

Olusegun-Joseph said: “The burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is on the increase in Nigeria. CVD accounts for a sizeable number of admissions in our hospitals, with over 30 per cent of CVD-related deaths yearly. Several studies from every region of the nation show this increasing trend of CVD morbidity and mortality.

“There is a significant increase of hypertension in the country with about one-third of the population hypertensive. The prevalence varies from one region of the country to the other, however, ranging from 20 per cent to over 45 per cent in some communities.

Studies show that the prevalence of hypertension has increased astronomically among Nigerians, from around 4 million in 1995 to over 27 million of the population as of 2020, and it is still increasing. Worse still awareness of hypertension is very low among our people, though slightly better than before. The same increasing trend is noted for diabetes mellitus with over 11 million Nigerians living with diabetes; obesity, and high cholesterol levels.

“The result of all these is an increase in the prevalence of stroke, heart failure, heart attack, and kidney failure which are now very common cases in our hospitals. There is hardly any day in the hospital that we don’t have more than four new admissions of people with stroke and heart failure, and more than two cases of kidney failure. On some occasions, we can have more than seven admissions of these diseases. Unfortunately, this is the trend in most of our secondary and tertiary hospitals.”

On the reason for the rise in heart diseases, Olusegun-Joseph said: “The reason for the increase in CVD that we are experiencing are multifactorial, mainly due to behavioral and lifestyle changes. There is an increase in poor lifestyle choices. People eat more processed food, increased salt intake, increased patronage of fast food establishments, increased sedentary lifestyle, increased poverty, increased stress (emotional, financial, mental, social etc), cigarette smoking, and increased obesity, including childhood and early adolescent obesity, polluted environment (increased dirty environment, increased noise pollution, increased fumes from generator set etc).”

On recommendations on how to address the situation, the LUTH cardiologist said: “The first and most important is what you are doing now- education and enlightenment of the populace. We must educate our people. There must be a massive campaign to drive awareness among our people about heart diseases, the causes and prevention with lifestyle changes that can keep it away!

“We must cut down on salt and high cholesterol intake. Exercise often, weight loss for those who are obese, intake more fruits and vegetables, smoking cessation, stop or reduction in alcohol intake, maintain a cleaner environment with no or very minimal air pollution, healthy drinks like smoothies, hibiscus drink, green tea, instead of sodas and refined, processed drinks.”

Olusegun-Joseph said trans fats predispose to heart disease by causing inflammation, predisposing to atherosclerosis, and causing endothelial damage. He said trans fat will cause an increase in bad cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which can predispose to obesity, stroke, heart attack, and peripheral arterial disease.

The cardiologist said energy drink is a double barrel: firstly, it has very high caffeine content which can predispose to the abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia), hypertension, heart attack, sudden death etc. “All of these have been reported in people following energy drink intake. Secondly, the excessive refined sugar in it will cause subclinical inflammation, predispose to atherosclerosis, obesity and diabetes to mention a few,” he said.

Does palm oil cause heart disease? Olusegun-Joseph said: “Palm oil is used to cook without excessively heating it is very good for the heart. It has tocotrienol, a very potent antioxidant. It also contains tocopherol, palm olein and other substances that promote heart health. However, overheating or bleaching of the oil can alter the property of the oil and convert it to a bad oil making it more atherogenic with increased chances of causing heart disease.”

Akinroye said Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) such as Nigeria Nigeria bear almost 90 percent of the burden of premature deaths due to CVDs, as most individuals affected are between the ages of 45 – 74 years, resulting in low life expectancy rates.

Akinroye said, in Nigeria, the economic burden of CVDs on individuals and families is enormous. “Since post-COVID-19 era, the cost of treatment of CVDs has risen sporadically since payment is mostly by out-of-pocket spending,” he said.

Akinroye said hypertension is the commonest CVD affecting not less than 33 percent of the adult population. He said the main CVDs burdens are- hypertensive heart disease 48.9 percent, stroke 24.4 percent, heart attack ( coronary heart disease) 8.9percent, arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), heart failure, cardiomyopathy and valvular heart disease from the remaining 17.8 per cent.

Odia said about one-third of deaths and disabilities from NCDs are due to heart diseases. He said this is borne out from hospital-based studies and a few population-based studies.

Odia recommended: “Public health advocacy, improved primary health care services. Funding for research and development in our tertiary hospitals. Assessable health insurance.”

Bennis said: “Heart failure is a serious and growing threat to health in the Middle East and Africa, but it does not have to be this way. Policymakers across the region must act now to prioritise heart failure and associated diseases, through better training for health workers, and national registries to ensure the collection of quality data and improved access to novel therapies.”

Klug said: “Whilst local guidelines are available in South Africa (click), too many lives are being cut short in this part of the world due to gaps in how we identify and treat heart failure. This problem also places a huge economic burden on already over-stretched health systems. This paper clearly lays out what needs to be done to avert further suffering. In honour of World Heart Day, we are calling on policymakers to turn words into action.”

The study urged policymakers to take the following steps to reverse current trajectories:
•Prioritise heart failure and its associated comorbidities alongside other infectious diseases
•Develop and implement region-specific clinical guidelines on heart failure
•Create local data registries on heart failure
•Train health workers in the early identification of high-risk patients
•Improve access to advanced diagnostics and train primary care health workers to use the available technology
•Enhance access and insurance for novel therapies

Source: The Guardian