An interventional cardiologist, Dr. Abraham Ariyo, has advised Nigerians to embrace healthy diets to reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases in the country.
Ariyo, Director, Heart Masters Cardiology in Dallas, Texas, United States, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos.
According to the Federal Ministry of Health, CVD is a significant public health concern responsible for 11 per cent of over two million non-communicable disease deaths in Nigeria annually.
It said that CVD was also responsible for a high burden of morbidity and disability, noting that most people with CVDs were not aware until catastrophes like stroke, heart attack, or death occur.
Ariyo noted that Nigerians rarely have heart attacks in the past due to traditional meals that were consumed and an active lifestyle.
He, however, said that the consumption of processed and cholesterol-filled foods by Nigerians, especially in the urban areas was driving CVDs in the country.
“Many people in the western countries have realised the problem and are moving away from such kind of food to vegetarian, fresh food and less cholesterol-laden food.
“Nigerians are moving to where the western countries were, with their high consumption of fast foods like pizzas, hamburgers, and many cholesterol-filled foods,” he said.
He noted that the rise in sudden and unexplained deaths in Nigeria might be due to undetected cardiovascular diseases.
According to him, staying healthy is a personal responsibility and each individual should embrace it to live a long and healthy life.
Ariyo said the public needed to acquire basic life support training skills, noting that it saves lives as it takes care of critical medical emergencies such as cardiac arrest management.
“Without immediate and appropriate attention, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims can lose their lives, while cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) provides temporary assistance, and a defibrillator can help the individual survive sudden cardiac arrest.
“Defibrillators are devices that send an electric pulse or shock to the heart to restore a normal heartbeat,” he said.
Ariyo said ideally a defibrillator should be available in public places to address emergencies, thus appealing to governments, NGOs and philanthropists to provide toward saving the lives of Nigerians.
NAN reports that Ariyo, is also the President, North America U.S. chapter of the Ibadan College of Medicine Alumni Association.
He noted that each year, an American-based, Nigerian-born, team of heart specialists, which include interventional cardiologists, electrophysiologists, nurses, and cardiac device companies from the US visit Nigeria for a week of marathon cardiovascular care.
Ariyo said that these visits made some medical practitioners return to Nigeria to practice and set up hospitals that perform up-to-date and complete cardiovascular care.
“This is the right step in the right direction with indigenous people starting to take non-governmental initiatives to increase health care capacity in Nigeria’s private sector,” he said.
He expressed optimism that collaboration among critical stakeholders would bring the solution to the numerous challenges affecting the healthcare sector of Nigeria.