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The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has advised Nigerians to ensure regular check of their health status in order to reduce the possibility of sudden death.

The NMA Chairman, Anambra branch, Dr. Jide Onyekwelu, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Tuesday.

Onyekwelu expressed concern over what he called rising cases of sudden deaths, which he attributed to lack of attention to health.

According to him, it is worrisome that a seemingly healthy person will suddenly slump and die.

He said that studies had shown that the most common cause of this type of sudden death was cardiovascular, that is, the heart and blood vessels.

“The commonest thing that can affect the workings of heart and blood vessels without any sign is hypertension. That is why high blood pressure is called a silent killer.

“An individual may not know that he has hypertension. It rarely shows any symptom. You can see somebody moving around, thinking that he is healthy but he is not, because he has high blood pressure.

“When blood vessel bursts in the brain, which is called cerebro-vascular accident or there is a similar burst in the heart, which is called heart attack, it is a sudden thing that does not give the patient enough time to get medical attention.

“Before you know it, a seemingly healthy person would have died. So hypertension, with its cardiovascular complications, is the most common cause of sudden death, as the patient may not know that he has the problem,” he said.

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Onyekwelu also warned against the use of electronic blood pressure checking devices, saying that they could give misleading result, even as he urged people to always allow professionals to do the checks for them for accurate information.

The medical practitioner, who said that there was no known scientific link of the sudden death phenomenon with COVID-19, however, advised Nigerians to engage in physical exercise for, at least, 20 minutes per day or minimum of four days a week.

“Although COVID-19 is infectious, it is not lethal. It may be a cause of morbidity but not of mortality. So I don’t see its relationship with sudden death.

“Let all adults ensure that they check their blood pressure; even those who are normotensive, that is, those who do not have hypertension.

“Let nobody not relax that he/she is alright. It is advised that everyone checks his/her blood pressure, at least, twice a year, even when he/she is seemingly healthy,” he said.

The NMA chairman advised those with hypertension to follow their doctors’ instructions, adding “they should ensure that somebody else checks it for them and that it is not the electronic device, because it can be misleading.”

He also stressed the need for regular physical exercise, saying that it could reduce blood pressure and obesity, and that it could keep individuals in good state of health. (NAN)