‘Stay away from fatty foods, sudden death’
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.