‘Stay away from fatty foods, sud­den death’

Daily Trust - - HEALTH - From Tony Adibe, Enugu

ANige­rian car­di­ol­o­gist based in the United King­dom, Dr. Onyek­welu Chibuike Nzewi, has ad­vised against the con­sump­tion of foods high in fats and choles­terol.

He said they cause block­age of the ar­ter­ies that sup­ply blood to the heart, which in turn causes heart at­tack and sud­den death. Ex­am­ples of such foods are fried foods , but­ter, and cook­ing oils among oth­ers.

Dr. Nzewi, who works at the Royal Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal (RVH), Belfast, United King­dom, said most sud­den deaths wit­nessed so far in the coun­try, es­pe­cially among law­mak­ers who re­port­edly col­lapsed and died, may be from heart at­tacks re­sult­ing from block­age of the ar­ter­ies sup­ply­ing blood to the heart.

In an in­ter­view with news­men at the Univer­sity of Nige­ria Teach­ing Hos­pi­tal, Enugu, Dr Nzewi who is also the founder of Save a Heart Foun­da­tion, a reg­is­tered char­ity in the UK said peo­ple who were in the habit of eat­ing fatty foods were at risk of hav­ing block­age in the ar­ter­ies and could suf­fer heart at­tack.

Dr Nzewi along­side other for­eign car­di­ol­o­gists in col­lab­o­ra­tion with lo­cal ones are cur­rently con­duct­ing open heart surgery on adults at UNTH, Enugu.

He said: “In Nige­ria, there are three cat­e­gories of heart dis­eases that we ur­gently need to at­tend to - con­gen­i­tal heart dis­ease; chil­dren born with de­for­mity in the heart. Whether you are white, yel­low or brown, one per­cent of ev­ery live birth has con­gen­i­tal heart dis­ease.

“Se­condly, we still have pre­dom­i­nant ef­fect of rheumatic fever.These are things that start with what looks like sore throat which if not treated even­tu­ally gets to af­fect the heart valve; and 10, 20 years later you be­gin to have nar­row­ing or the con­trac­tion or leak­ing of the valve. Those pa­tients, you can man­age by sta­bi­liz­ing them, buy time and sched­ule the op­er­a­tion.

“The third which is, if we don’t grap­ple with it ad­e­quately, is an epi­demic that is wait­ing to hap­pen; is seis­mic heart dis­ease which means the de­po­si­tion of choles­terol in the ar­ter­ies that sup­ply the heart. Why is it com­mon here? Be­cause we thought the west­ern diet is the best. No­body eats our na­tive food; we go for ar­ti­fi­cial, pre­served oil, and it is al­ready an epi­demic in Nige­ria,” the car­di­ol­o­gist said.

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