It is no more news that a heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely.
According to Cardiologists, this happens when coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood flow slowly becomes narrow from a building of fat, cholesterol and other substances that together are called plaque.
They added that this process is known as atherosclerosis, and that when a plaque in a heart artery breaks, a blood clot forms around the plaque.
They hinted that the blood clot can block the blood flow through the heart muscle when it is starved of oxygen and nutrients. They postulated that when the condition gets to this stage, it is called Ischemia. Still in the same nexus, when damage or death or part of the heart muscle occurs as a result of Ischemia, it is called a heart attack or Myocardial Infraction (MI).
There is no denying the fact that the cause of the death of the “Big Boss”, as the late Stephen Keshi was fondly called, was reported to be cardiovascular-related disease until one of his family members, Mr. Rickey Aburime, debunked media reports that he died of heart attack or cardiovascular-related sickness.
As copiously quoted in the media, Aburime said “All of a sudden, they that noticed his countenance changed and he was not okay. The person with him called Ebuka and they rushed him to the hospital. He was dead by the time they got to the hospital.
A nurse that checked him said there was no pulse. Doctors later confirmed him dead. After the confirmation as he was not a patient of the hospital, they could not write any report or present any death certificate.
They said he must bring the police report and the police came to inspect the body. I am about to take the corpse to Stella Obasanjo’s hospital pending the autopsy which the family want to do. Dr. Wilson Akhiwu will conduct the autopsy.
There is no official statement as to the cause of the death. There will be no embalming. It was sudden and we don’t want anybody to speculate. There was no sign of ill health and Keshi has not complained of anything recently.”
Trailing the death of Keshi was the tragedy that struck the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, and the Nigerian football fans when former Super Eagle Coach and Technical Director of the NFF, Amodu Shuaibu, was reported to have died in his sleep in Benin City, the capital of Edo state.
Amodu’s death, just like that of Keshi, was widely speculated or insinuated to be as a result of cardiovascular-related disease even before the family issued any statement on the cause of his death.
The fates that befell the two soccer stars cannot be said to be in isolation as many Nigerians are by each passing day dying of cardiovascular-related diseases. Some have being reportedly slumped on the streets, in offices, in their sitting room and some other places.
Against the backdrop of the foregoing, it is ironical to say that heart attack has remained a major cause of death in this part of the world ostensibly as a result of the lingering parlous state of the economy.
With the hardships which the people are facing, particularly under the on-going dispensation of change agenda that is being implemented by the APC-led government, it is not hyperbolical to opine that heart attack is beginning to account for a greater percentage of deaths in the country.
The information conveying the fact that someone suddenly died despite being seen in the last few hours is no more becoming newsy as it is fast becoming a daily occurrence in almost every neighborhood. Surprisingly, the lifestyles, myths and beliefs which many people are engrossed in are making heart attack to remain in the heart of ignorance.
Simply put, ignorance has remained the major cause of heart attack as most of the risk factors that are associated with it are the lifestyles which a great percentage of the population have adopted. For instance, doctors and other health workers have for the umpteenth time warned that smoking and excessive alcohol intake are dangerous lifestyles to adopt.
They warned that chemicals in tobacco can damage the heart and blood vessels leading to the narrowing of the arteries (Atherosclerosis) yet people have kept on ignoring the warning from experts. Paradoxically, some of the health experts smoke as well.
As those in the Christendom would readily quote from the book of Galatians chapter 2 verse 14 which says, “If you, being a Jew, live after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compel you the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” whenever they observed anyone that is exhibiting a lifestyle that is contrary to what he or she preaches.
Many people, including this writer, is also asking why do health experts and workers smoke like faulty exhaust pipe when they are expected to be role models to the people that look up to them for counseling on health-related issues. Also, health experts advised that engaging in some regular daily exercise can reduce the risk of fatal heart disease.
Unfortunately, taking a walk or trekking in Nigeria is usually associated with poverty by those who are ignorant of the fact that exercise is one of the activities recommended to prevent cardio-vascular-related disease. Doctors also advised that heart attack can be prevented by eating healthy diet.
To this end, they recommended a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They also recommended that beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce the risk of heart disease. But alas! Many Nigerians are wont to confess their inability to afford the recommended diet that can prevent heart attack or cardio-vascular-related disease.
Funny enough they can afford paying the bills that are connected to hosting lavish social parties in the form of naming ceremony, marriage ceremony and ridiculous of all, burial ceremony.
On account of ignorance, many people are wont to misconstrue fatness or obesity to be an evidence of good living. Contrary to their erroneous belief, findings by health experts have shown that obesity or fatness is associated with comorbidities. For the sake of clarity, “comorbidity is the presence of one or more additional diseases or disorders co-occurring with (that is, concomitant or concurrent with) a primary disease or disorder.”
The comorbidities that are associated with cardiovascular diseases include diabetes, hypertension, certain cancers and sleep disorder. Most informative in this context is that fatness causes hypertension and is pointed out by medical experts as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Finally, the essence of this piece is to advise members of the public to take an introspective look into the lifestyles they have been ignorantly exhibiting and exercise moral restraint towards dropping the ones they discovered to be risk factors to heart attack.
Those that are still indulging in lifestyles that are considered to be risk factors to heart attack should always have the saying of Martin Luther King Jnr. at the back of their minds that “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”. Isaac Asabor
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