Many people now involve themselves, unconsciously, in acts that damage their hearts. Health Policy analyst and Managing Director, Solomon Jayden Medical Centre, Dr. Akin OYEJOKO, in this interview as a lead discussant on Platforms Africa e-discourse, gives a step-by-step admonition on harmful acts to avoid in evading a heart attack. Excerpts;
What is your assessment of Nigerians (African) behaviour recently towards observing COVID-19 protocols? Have we let down our guards on Face Masks and other measures?
Am sorry to say, my impression is that Nigerians no longer seem to care about the threat of Covid -19 anymore! Everywhere I look, what I see is that 8 out of 10 people are no longer wearing the mask or observing social distancing. In fact, I doubt if people still listens to the updates or take it seriously anymore! This is very DANGEROUS. While we look away, while we let down our defense, the enemy is spreading and growing stronger and stronger.
Even with the second wave of COVID-19 elsewhere, Africa is seen to have, so far, performed far better the projection by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on COVID-19. What medical explanation can be adduced to this?
My explanation will be low rate of testing, low rate of reporting and misdiagnosis. Then I can’t deny that there seem to be something in our genes that’s resistant to covid-19. There is a greater power protecting us somehow.
Why is human heart a must-protect organ?
The human heart is organ that pumps blood round the body. Blood is needed to supply much needed nutrient and clear away wastes and potentially harmful remnants of our body metabolism. If the heart is sick the body is sick, if it stops working, life ends.
Kindly, give us background information on heart diseases? Are they terminal ailments?
Even though the heart pumps blood around whole body, the heart itself needs a constant supply of blood and nutrient. The heart never stops working so if at any time that supply of fresh blood/nutrient is interrupted; it causes damage to the heart tissue. And so the damaged heart cannot function optimally. If the damage is extensive, the heart may fail, heart failure, and this has dire consequences.
Usually, if proper care is not taken, damage to the heart can be terminal, especially in resource poor areas like most of Africa.
Is it true that COVID-19 is usually more potent when contracted by someone with heart disease than someone with no pre-condition like that?
Available data shows that Covid -19 exerts a lot of stress on the body and the chances of survival are directly proportional to the standard of health of the individual. So, people with underlying diseases like heart disease will feel this stress more. Therefore, the prognosis is worse because the virus causes a generally inflammatory response all over the body. Let’s view covid-19 as war, as an invading army.
What are those things we do as humans that result in damaging our hearts?
A developed state, with infrastructure and surplus before the war stands a better chance of winning a prolonged war fare than a less developed and less prepared state Especially, if the centre for logistics, the heart, has been damaged.
Is heart disease natural or man-made?
Both, some people are born with heart diseases; Congenital Heart disease, but most people acquire heart diseases; Acquired Heart Disease.
One of the main causes of heart diseases is atherosclerosis or plaque formation in the pipes that supply blood to the heart. This plaque can be caused by low density cholesterol and over time can even completely occlude the blood vessels of the heart. Human behaviors such as sedentary life style, lack of exercise, alcohol abuse, smoking, diet and diseases such as diabetes and obesity may also contribute.
Football Legend, Diego Maradona was reported to have died of heart attack. A news editor with NTA like so make professionals in was also reported to have died in his office of the same illness. What is heart attack?
Heart attack is simply failure of blood supply to the heart!
How can people with heart infections improve health status during this period and beyond?
This is a very important question. The golden rule is prevention, prevention, prevention.
For those with existing heart disease such as hypertension, angina, high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, obesity etc. it is mandatory to strictly adhere to all the guidelines, go for medical checkups, avoid crowded areas, take their medications regularly, and lastly observe themselves and quickly report any abnormality to their doctor. It is better to be on the side of caution.
What are your recommendations for those who do not have heart diseases from falling into the category?
For those who don’t have any heart condition, firstly, that doesn’t mean they are resistant to Covid-19, so… stay protected. There are some life style modifications that have been proven over time to reduce the chances of heart diseases.
- NO SMOKING. I am not saying you should reduce it, am saying, don’t start or stop it.
- Secondly, live an active life. Sedentary life takes more than it gives. Even if you have people around who can do it for you, get up and move around do some sweating, it is good for the heart and the body generally.
- Furthermore, pay attention to your diet, especially if you are above 40!, a healthy diet prevents a lot of diseases.
Are there some food (in take) that can help reduce the risk? What are their names?
Low to moderate intake of salt, sugar, animal fat will go a long way to help. Diet rich in vegetables, fruits, homemade food will be great. And finally, drink plenty water, except at night, water can’t be too much.
Do you mean that we should consume animal fat?
NO, I mean to say, take as little as possible of these things. Salt, sugar, animal fat, canned foods.
Well, i will like to say, live a healthy life, and protect yourself and your family against the corona virus. Covid -19 is real!
Why is it wrong to take plenty of water at night?
Taking plenty water at night will make a lot of people get up several times to wee. This may affect their sleeping pattern. Some people even find it difficult to initiate sleep afterwards.