Heart failure

World Heart Day 2022: Heart failure is now a growing health threat in Africa and the Middle East -Experts

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world in marking the World Heart Day 2022 (WHD)research has shown that the rising rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Africa and the Middle East are of concern.

Some regional experts in a report published in the Journal of the Saudi Heart Association therefore called for urgent action to stop and reverse the trend.

The report highlights that heart failure is associated with significant morbidity and mortality and has a significant impact on patients’ quality of life, as well as a substantial economic burden, with an estimated total cost of $1.92 billion. Americans.

He notes that the average age at which a person will develop heart failure in the MEA region is significantly lower than elsewhere: Africa (53 years), Middle East (56.4 years), North Africa (58.79 years ), Asia (60 years) and Europe (70 years).

Experts point to risk factors such as diabetes, obesity, smoking and socio-economic transition, marked by a sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity and high consumption of fatty foods, such as major contributors to the higher prevalence of heart failure in the region. .

They also agreed that, in some countries, the high prevalence of existing infectious diseases such as tuberculosis diverts attention and resources away from non-communicable diseases such as heart failure.

World statistics

Experts said cardiovascular disease, which remains the leading cause of death worldwide, continued to rise despite various prevention mechanisms.

Cardiovascular disease is a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels and includes coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease, and other conditions.

According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), about 17.9 million people die each year from cardiovascular diseases, which represents 31% of deaths worldwide.


More than four in five CVD deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes, and a third of these deaths occur prematurely in people under the age of 70.

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Various researches have identified unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, smoking and harmful use of alcohol as the most important behavioral risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

At least 1.9 million people die each year from tobacco-induced heart disease, according to the WHO. It also states that smokeless tobacco is responsible for approximately 200,000 coronary heart disease deaths per year.

However, health experts have said that Nigerians still indulge in dangerous practices such as smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol which are fueling the rise in heart disease cases.

Situation in Nigeria

A Cardiologist and Provost of the University of Lagos College of Medicine, Idi-Araba, David Oke, said there is a paradigm shift in the CVD model in Nigeria and Africa in general.

Mr Oke said that although cardiovascular disease has been less prevalent in the past, its numbers have increased in recent times due to unhealthy diets and lifestyles.

“In the past, we had a lot of diseases with less prevalence, but now, due to civilization and what is happening in the so-called developed countries, we now have more non-communicable diseases,” he said. declared.

He said heart failure was also increasing due to the country’s inability to tackle hypertension.

He said some people suffer from heart failure due to untreated high blood pressure.

“If we can’t deal with hypertension because of the economic situation, if we can’t buy the necessary drugs, that is, heart failure will become more prevalent,” he said. declared.

Mr Oke said that with the current economic crisis, Nigeria is heading towards a point where every family will have someone with heart failure.

Risk factors

A consultant cardiologist at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ramon Moronkola, said many things can affect the heart, ranging from hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and certain modes of life.

Mr Moronkola said lifestyles such as heavy drinking and smoking, including smoking, have a long-term negative effect on the heart.

“All of these highlighted factors can affect the heart, which then leads to heart failure, a condition in which the heart does not function optimally at the level required to satisfy the body system,” he said.

He said the chances of a heart failure patient surviving can be compared to the deadliest cancer.

He said people should cultivate the habit of healthy living to prevent the deadly disease.

Moronkola also noted that the chances of survival for heart failure patients will be very low over the next five years unless drastic measures are taken now.

“In five years, the survival of patients with heart failure, the chances of survival are less than 50%. In five years, more than half of these patients could probably die if there is no appropriate treatment “, did he declare.

The consultant cardiologist also stated that there are certain non-modifiable risk factors that nothing can be done to prevent them. Some of them included race, age, and heredity.

“For example, if the father, mother or a relative has heart disease, it is likely that the person has inherited it.

“Age is another factor, the older you get the higher the risk factor for becoming hypertensive or developing heart disease,” he said.

Go forward

According to a Professor of Cardiology, Department of Cardiology in Casablanca, Morocco, Ahmed Bennis, heart failure is a serious and growing health threat in MEA, but it doesn’t have to be.

Mr Ahmed said policy makers in the region must act now to prioritize heart failure and related diseases, through better training of health workers, national registries to ensure quality data collection and better access to new therapies.

The report also highlights the lack of awareness at the community level and a high prevalence of associated diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, compounded by poor accessibility and affordability of health care, as major obstacles to preventing HIV. heart failure in the area.

The report also urges policymakers to take the following steps to reverse current trajectories: Prioritize heart failure and its associated comorbidities alongside other infectious diseases; Develop and implement regional heart failure clinical guidelines and establish local heart failure data registries.

It also calls for the training of health workers in the early identification of high-risk patients, better access to advanced diagnostics and the training of primary health workers in the use of available technology, as well as improving access and insurance for new therapies.

More awareness

Gladys Ahaneku, a consultant cardiologist at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Hospital in Nnewi, said the level of awareness of cardiovascular disease was still very low in major parts of the country.

Ms Ahaneku said conditions like hypertension, which were very rare in the 1960s, are now widespread in the country.

“A lot of people you see at the clinic don’t even know they have high blood pressure. The majority of them are only presented in an emergency,” she said.

She said some people who are aware of their condition don’t understand its seriousness.

She noted that education should be part of the patient’s treatment procedure to keep them informed.

“If the patient is aware of their condition and the do’s and don’ts, they will be better off and society will also benefit in the long run,” she said.

Mr Oke, the cardiologist, said to end the threat of heart disease, more awareness is needed, especially in rural communities.

He said the majority of NGOs focus on urban areas, neglecting rural communities where the message is most needed.

“The awareness is not at its peak, we need to pay more attention to raising awareness in these rural areas of the country, then we will be good to go,” he said.

world heart day

World Heart Day is celebrated on September 29 each year to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease (CVD), its management, and its impact on society.

The theme for World Heart Day 2022 is “Use the Heart for Every Heart”.

The day founded by the World Heart Federation aims to draw attention to behaviors that can deter individuals from becoming predisposed to cardiovascular disease, as well as to educate the masses on how to manage the potential risks associated with these diseases.

This includes an unhealthy diet, passive smoking and lack of physical activity, which appear to be enough to stop 80% of premature deaths from strokes and heart attacks.

The World Heart Federation noted that high blood pressure, increased blood sugar, obesity, or being overweight are all side effects of an unhealthy lifestyle that can harm the heart.


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