Some medical experts are warning of an increase in cardiovascular diseases in Ghana.

Dr. Beatrice Kisiwaa Baaye, a physician specialist at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital who spoke on Joy Prime’s Prime Morning show, disclosed that in every one hundred Ghanaians, approximately ten people are usually diagnosed with cardiovascular related disorders.

The momentous rise in numbers makes it the leading cause responsible for about one-third of all deaths globally, with lifestyle being a major influence.

“It looks like cardiovascular diseases are on the rise right now due to some of the risk factors. If you should choose 100 people, you would find about 10 people having the cardiovascular disease. There are a lot of people out there. Out of a number, 3 or 4 people may have heart failure, 1 person with a stroke, or 1 person with a heart attack as well. It looks like it’s on the rise now,” she explained.

Dr. Beatrice Kisiwaa Baaye - Physician Specialist, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital

The physician stated that the adoption of modern living conditions is also adding significantly to the country's prevalence of coronary heart disorders.

On her part, physician specialist and preventive cardiologist, Dr. Florence Akumiah, who also spoke on the show, mentioned that the socio-demographic features of low and middle-income countries determine the risk.

Research has attributed the cases to social factors affiliated with mental health issues and the health-seeking attitude of the majority of people.

“It’s been found that if you’re living in a low-socio-economic country, then your risk of cardiovascular disease goes high and it’s attributable to various problems. The cycle of social factors that are associated with stress, anxiety, and depression, and also health-seeking behaviours, is such that a lot of these risk factors are not diagnosed early until they develop the cardiovascular complications of it,” the cardiologist said.

Dr. Florence Akumiah - Physician Specialist and Preventive Cardiologist

Furthermore, she underlined that, even though cardiovascular problems exist among Westerners, victims are detected early, resulting in fewer deaths.

However, insufficient equipment in Ghana’s health facilities makes the disease management difficult, emphasising the fact that patients are diagnosed late and suffer higher mortality rates as a result.

Also, people's refusal to accept the reality that they are prone to developing certain ailments contributes to the prevalence rate, since they seek medical assistance in the late stages

Factually, heart attacks and failures do not happen in one day. Instead, people's regular activities establish a solid foundation, and when the heart is overburdened and triggered by the smallest condition, the individual dies, even if they appear strong.

 “There are things that we’re doing over time that lay a strong foundation, and then when that trigger happens, people say the person was fine yesterday, so what happened? But it’s not all of a sudden; it’s over 10 years. Lifestyle and other factors like being black and African are risk factors,” Dr. Nana A. Konadu Darko, Specialist Family Physician at CREATE Ghana, also added.

Dr. Nana A. Konadu Darko - Specialist Family Physician, CREATE Ghana

Hormonal medications, notably the regular use of contraceptive pills, are also regarded as a major cause of cardiovascular disease. As a result, women are advised to avoid using tablets on a regular basis. Alcohol, smoking, and a high salt consumption can all put one at danger.

CVDs are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels and include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease, and other conditions.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) records that an estimated 17.9 million people died from CVDs in 2019, representing 32% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85% were due to heart attacks and strokes. Out of the 17 million premature deaths (under the age of 70) due to non-communicable diseases in 2019, 38% were caused by CVDs.

Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioural risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diets and obesity, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol.

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