Worried at the rate of morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular diseases in Nigeria, the Minister of State for Health Dr Tunji Alausa has advised Nigerians to always engage in physical activities for a minimum of 30 minutes daily to help eliminate the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases that can lead to sudden attack and death.
He gave this advice yesterday in Abuja while briefing members of the Press on 2023 World Heart Day with the theme “Use Heart, Know Heart”.
Other physical activities he noted include using the stairs instead of the elevator, trekking instead of taking the bus for short distances, standing up from your seat intermittently to stretch your body adding that physical activity relieves stress, keeps one fit, and controls body weigh. ” In addition to avoid tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke and avoid harmful intake of alcohol.
“Eating a healthy diet containing a minimum of 3-5 servings of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables spread over each day in addition to eating a variety of whole grains, lean meat, fish, peas, beans, and lentils. Limit processed foods, limit salt intake to less than 5 grams (1 teaspoon) daily, reduce dietary cholesterol, and avoid industrially produced trans-fats will also help one to curb getting heart disease.
“And more importantly, Know your numbers by regularly checking your blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels.
Dr Alausa lamented that statistics from the World Health Organization show that cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and are the foremost cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year. Of these cardiovascular deaths, 85% are due to heart attack and stroke, and over three-quarters occur in low- and middle-income countries.
” The 2018 WHO Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Country Profiles show that NCDs accounted for 29% of all deaths in Nigeria with cardiovascular diseases responsible for 11% of all the NCD deaths. The country profile also shows that the risk of dying prematurely from NCDs in Nigeria is 22% Premature mortality in this instance is defined as death occurring between ages 30 and 70 years from any of the common NCDs
The Minister added that government will continue to do his best in response to the burden of cardiovascular diseases noting that government over the years instituted several strategic interventions at the Tertiary, Secondary and Primary Health Care levels.
” The FMOH has developed the National NCDs Policy and Multi-Sectoral Action Plan. An offshoot to the Policy and Multi-Sectoral Action Plan 2019-2025, the National Guidelines for the prevention and management of hypertension, diabetes and sickle cell disease has been developed and is being implemented at all levels of care with emphasis on awareness creation, education, and healthy lifestyle, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and referral, as well as training, supportive supervision, monitoring, documentation, and reporting.
“The National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and Regulations 2019 are being implemented to reduce tobacco consumption and exposure to second-hand smoke in Nigeria. In collaboration with NAFDAC, the Fats and oil Regulations has been reviewed and gazetted to incorporate trans-fatty acid (TFA). This regulation prescribes TFA at less than 2g per 100g of oil or fat as a start of our transition to a total elimination of TFA by 2030. All these are known risk factors for heart disease”.
“FMOH in collaboration with NPHCDA, WHO Country Office, and Resolve to Save Lives (RTSL) has launched the National Hypertension Control Initiative (NHCI) in August 2019 with focus on strengthening the PHC Centres to prevent and manage simple and uncomplicated hypertension using a simple standard treatment protocol. The protocol was first deployed to PHC Centres in November 2020”.
He however commended all governmnet partners especially the World Health Organization, Nigeria Heart Foundation, Resolve to Save Lives, Power Oil and Codix Pharma Limited for collaborating with the FMOH to mark this year’s World Heart Day and appeal for more support in government effort to promote and protect the lives of the citizens.
Recall that World Heart Day is a day set aside by the Cardiovascular Health Community all over the world to raise awareness about the importance of the heart and promote preventive measures to reduce the global impact and burden of heart diseases.
This year’s theme, beyond encouraging us to learn more about our hearts and how to keep them healthy, also enjoins us to show care and compassion to people who suffer from heart problems. It reminds us that taking care of our hearts and those of others is not only a medical necessity but also a fundamental act of self-love and care for our loved ones.