World Heart Day

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Goal: ‘25 by 25’

Theme: my heart your heart

World Heart Day is a day chosen to campaign globally regarding the scourge of cardiovascular disease (CVD); which is easily the world’s leading cause of death and disability.

As noted previously, CVD is an umbrella term encompassing all disorders of the heart and blood vessels. According to the World Health Organisation, 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, e.g. ‘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 this year is ‘my heart your heart’. 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’.

Today, Saturday – 29th September, the Cardiology Unit of LUTH/CMUL celebrated the World Heart Day. The participants consisted of all the Cardiology consultants, senior Registrars, other Resident Drs, and medical students currently rotating through Internal Medicine. We also partnered with Novartis and Medtronic companies. The activities included blood pressure measurements, and community awareness drive. We engaged with community members in Mushin LGA as worthy neighbours of LUTH. The team distributed information leaflets, and provided health education and answers to questions about different aspects of CVD risk factors and prevention. Factors we emphasized were the initial; but hidden/silent phase of most CVDs, and thus need for regular check-up for early detection for CVD. The role of excessive salt consumption in hypertension/high BP was also discussed. Surprising feedback was the prevalent; but wrong perception that current well-being essentially ruled-out (excluded) current heart problem or even future heart disease. However, some members had good cardiovascular knowledge and practices.

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.

Our interaction, today with community members has also provided food-for-thought and need for other approaches.           

Professor Janet Ngozi AJULUCHUKWU [MBBS Lag]; MMed (Melb); FESC;  FNCS; FMCP

Consultant Cardiologist/Chairman LUTH Open Heart Surgery Program [LCP]

29TH September 2018