Cardiovascular Diseases contribute over 17 million deaths annually – Ajuluchukwu

Head of the Department of Cardiology, University of Lagos Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Prof. Janet Ajuluchukwu says Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) contributed over 17million deaths yearly.

She made the disclosure during an enlightenment campaign organised by the Cardiology department of LUTH/CMUL to mark this year’s World Heart Day.

World Heart Day which is celebrated on the 29th of September, is a day chosen to campaign globally regarding the scourge of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

According to Ajuluchukwu, who also Chairs LUTH Open Heart Surgery Program [LCP], CVD, which is an umbrella term encompassing all disorders of the heart and blood vessels, “is easily the world’s leading cause of death and disability.”

Quoting the World Health Organisation, she said; “the Big Four CVDs are hypertension, strokes, heart attack, and rheumatic fever/ rheumatic heart disease. The other common ones include, but are not limited to heart failure and congenital heart disease, eg ‘hole in the heart’. In Nigeria, hypertension is itself definitely the chief CVD, and is also a risk factor and an end-point leading to stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure.”

The theme for this year is ‘my heart your heart.’ Commenting on the theme, the Prof. said; “This theme reminds us all of the ugly statistics informing us that CVD contributes to over 17 million deaths every year. The theme represents a promise to oneself, our loved ones and other individuals around the world to take appropriate steps to reduce CVD. My opinion is that this also reflects one central point in SDGs, which emphasizes ‘leaving no one behind.’”

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Participants at the programme which was organized in partnership with Novartis and Medtronic companies included all the Cardiology consultants, senior Registrars, other Resident Drs, and medical students rotating through Internal Medicine.

Cardiovascular Diseases contribute over 17 million deaths annually – Ajuluchukwu

The Doctors engaged community members in Mushin LGA. Some of the activities they carried out included blood pressure measurements, community awareness drive, distribution of information leaflets, as well as health education. They were also open to questions about different aspects of CVD risk factors and prevention.

Head of the team, Prof. Ajuluchukwu explained that some of the factors they emphasised were the initial, but hidden/silent phase of most CVDs, the need for regular check-up for early detection for CVD and the role of excessive salt consumption in hypertension/high BP.

The World Heart Federation rolls out different strategies towards the objective of CVD reduction. The current goal of the World Heart Federation is to REDUCE CVD by 25% by the year 2025. For simplicity, that strategy is tagged ‘25 by 25’. Another strategy is tagged ‘know your numbers’. These numbers include one’s blood pressure, body mass index, fasting blood glucose and cholesterol. These numbers are vital; as abnormal values contribute to CVD as risk factors.