A consultant Neurologist, Dr. Segun Tokede, has attributed the rising number of people coming down with hypertensive heart disease in the country to the indiscriminate use of herbal remedies and bleaching agents.
Tokede, who is the Chief Medical Director, MISET Specialist Hospital, Lagos, said the trend became obvious due to mandatory screening procedure in hospitals that entails blood pressure check before a patient is allowed to access a physician.
“It might be right to assume that it is increasing because many hypertensive patients are presenting more in the clinic.
“The practice of first checking the blood pressure of patients has led to the detection of the condition in most people,” he said.
Dr. Tokede spoke in light of the recent World Health Organisation report, which stated that death from hypertensive heart disease is rising globally.
According to the WHO 2019 Global Health Estimates published on Thursday, noncommunicable diseases now kills more people than ever before, and makeup seven of the world’s top 10 causes of death.
The report noted that this is an increase from the figures of year 2000 which put noncommunicable as four of the leading causes of death, adding that the new WHO data cover the period of 2000 to 2019.
The global health agency report stated that heart disease has remained the leading cause of death at the global level for the last 20 years, with the number of deaths increasing by over two million since 2000, to nearly nine million in 2019.
It further stated that the disease now represents 16 per cent of total deaths from all causes and that more than half of the two million additional deaths were recorded in the WHO Western Pacific region.
The global health body noted that however, the European region has seen a relative decline in heart disease, with deaths falling by 15 per cent.
Speaking in an interview with PUNCH Healthwise, the neurologist said hypertensive heart disease refers to heart conditions caused by high blood pressure.
He explained that when the heart works under increased pressure, it could lead to some heart disorders that include coronary artery disease, heart failure and thickening of the heart muscle.
Tokede noted that the indiscriminate use of unevaluated medication is increasing the incidence of the condition, adding that Nigerians are in the habit of consuming horrible herbal supplement and local cocktails of unknown origin.
He said, “The origin of these herbal remedies that flooded the country is America.
“People believe that anything that comes from the country is good.
“Herbal supplements originated from the native Americans (the red Indian aborigines) that made concoctions from herbs. It is what they use as therapeutic.
“But with every original, there would be fake.
“With time, banned substances were incorporated into it and it has led to more people coming down with kidney and liver damage.
“I had a client that took a popular brand of herbal supplement for two years and his two kidneys packed up. He is now dead.
“The cardinal work of the kidney is to control blood pressure.
“Lack of it would increase the incidence of hypertension.
“There seems to be a reduction in the number of those taking these herbal supplements, probably due to being aware.”
The neurologist said hypertensive heart disease is more rampant in black Africans and is hereditary.
He, however, said if the socio-environmental triggers are avoided by those genetically disposed to the condition, and they take necessary precaution, they might not be hypertensive.
“You are more prone to heart disease if it runs in your family.
“Out of 100 people with hypertensive heart disease, 80 per cent is inherited.
“Once those that are genetically predisposed don’t control their salt intake, consume alcohol and other dangerous drugs, they would get into trouble,” he said.
Tokede also disclosed that men are more likely to get heart disease than women, adding, “Women are naturally seen to be more protected from many diseases because they are less exposed to stress.
“The burden is more on men, except for women that are into single parenting.
“I have seen patients that take all the hypertensive drugs available, but they are not assimilated due to stress.
“What they are undergoing, that is stressing them out is more of a psychological problem.
“Unless there is a resolution of the crises, the problem would persist,” he said.
The consultant said chances of developing hypertensive heart disease increases with age, regardless of gender.
He said, “Blood pressure increases with age. This is because the arteries undergo progressive hardening and the rigid part can’t be extended.
“140 over 90 is classified as the upper border of normal for those in their 40s, 50s and 60s.
“A BP reading of 140 over 90, for those in their 20s is a red flag for a heart condition.
“However, BP is dynamic, as it varies based on the situation.”
He warned Nigerians to be wary of what they consume and apply on their body, as drugs like expired Tetracycline and bleaching products can damage the kidney.
“Bleaching creams contain mercury and it damages the kidney and leads to hypertension.
“Bleaching agents are absorbed into the kidney, causing extensive damage,” he said.
Also speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, Dr. Kelechi Igbokwe, a general practitioner said recovering from hypertensive heart disease depends on the exact condition and its intensity.
He said lifestyle changes can help keep the condition from getting worse in some cases, adding that in severe cases, medications and surgery may not be effective in controlling the disease.
Igbokwe said preventing hypertensive heart disease involves monitoring and preventing blood pressure from getting too high.
“Eating a healthy diet and monitoring stress levels can help to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol, and by extension, possibly prevent heart problems.
“It is also imperative to maintaining a healthy weight, get adequate sleep, and exercise regularly but moderately,” he said.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
The post Herbal remedies, bleaching agents increasing hypertensive heart disease –Physicians appeared first on Healthwise.