Friday, 8 July 2016
‘Four Points of Attack Against Heart Attack’
Your heart beats about 100,000 times a day. This is about 70 times per minute. The heart is a hollow, muscular organ; its major purpose is to circulate blood,
which carries oxygen and nutrients around the body, including itself. For it to maintain this optimal function, four things must be avoided: High salt intake, hypertension, tobacco, and overweight/obesity.
A new scientific statement, “The Heart of 25 by 25: achieving the goal of reducing global and regional premature deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke” has warned that premature deaths from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), which is already the number one cause of death around the world with a global cost of nearly US $863billion, could rise by up to 30 percent in women and 34 percent in men in the next decade if the risk factors are not ‘aggressively addressed’ by health practitioners and policymakers worldwide.
The joint statement from the America Heart Association (AHA) and World Heart Federation (WHF) studied global data on premature deaths from CVD in 30 to 70-year-olds. The research found that CVDs are responsible for almost six million premature deaths per year, but concluded that this could rise to nearly eight million by 2025. Breaking this figure down by region this represents considerable increases in premature deaths by 2025 including: Sub-Saharan Africa – 48 percent increase in women and 52 percent increase in men.
According to Director, Nigerian Heart Foundation, Dr Kingsley Akinroye, Cost-effective measures to reduce CVD risk factors such as obesity, tobacco use, salt regulation, and hypertension already exist, but they’ve not been widely implemented. He said governments at all levels have a vital role to play in ensuring improved heart-healthy environments in the county, by providing opportunities for people to make heart-healthy choices, through a combination of public education and national regulations such as salt targets.
He said the World Heart Federation and its members are putting a spotlight on creating heart-healthy environments and calling for a world where people do not face overwhelming displays of unhealthy fast food or unwholesome school meals, all of which often contain high levels of salt. Too much salt is a hidden killer. Excess salt leads to higher blood pressure, which is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease, which poses a large economic burden to society.
“Limiting sodium, or salt, to 2,000mg a day is an important part of maintaining a healthy heart and treating heart failure. With a low Ejection Fraction (EF), your kidneys get less blood than they should. This makes them unable to rid the body of excess water and salt. So eating too much salt can lead to even more fluid buildup. It also increases your blood pressure, which makes the already weakened heart work harder. Many studies have looked at the health benefits from reducing salt in various parts of the world; successfully implementing national targets like salt reduction could not only save thousands of lives each year but also avoid millions of naira in health care expenses and thousands of cases of poverty from medical bills. Salt target could reduce CVD deaths by 11 percent. By reducing the risk of developing CVD in the first place, it would also prevent households from having to pay costly health care fees, which can lead to additional financial deprivation. The money will be saved mostly among middle-class families.”
Consultant Physician/Cardiologist, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba, Dr Akinsanya Olusegun-Joseph explained that the risk of both stroke and coronary disease increase as the blood pressure rises above 110/75. Reducing the blood pressure in hypertensive patients, even those with mild hypertension, lowers the risk of stroke. The target blood pressure in this setting is not well defined, and should be individualised. A goal of <130/80 mmHg seems reasonable for most patients. If you have high blood pressure (hypertension), it is important to attempt to identify and exclude reversible (secondary) causes. The major goal of high blood pressure (antihypertensive) therapy is the reduction of cardiovascular disease (including stroke). In most persons with hypertension, especially those age >50 years, the primary focus should be on achieving a blood pressure <140/90 mmHg since that is directly associated with a decrease in CVD complications. In patients with hypertension and diabetes or renal disease, the BP goal is <130/80 mmHg. If you fall into the prehypertension range (120–139/80–89), the doctor will likely recommend lifestyle changes, including- Lose excess weight, exercise, limit alcohol to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women, cut back on salt and quit smoking