Protecting our hearts from diseases
That heart diseases and stroke have been identified as the leading causes of death in the country must be a call to action for all Ghanaians to protect their hearts.
Official statistics show that heart diseases and cardiac strokes are the leading causes of death in the world, with about 18.6 million people dying each year due to heart diseases or stroke.
This is, indeed, scary considering the fact that the heart is an important part of the body which one cannot do without.
As the acting Director of the National Cardiothoracic Centre, Professor Mark Mawutor Tettey, rightly puts it, the heart is the most important organ in the body, and it is as a result of this that before anybody is declared dead, the heart must be examined and found to have ceased beating.
“You have life in you because your heart is working! Your heart is like the pillar holding your life. When it crushes, your life goes with it!” he was quoted in last Tuesday’s issue of this paper.
This explains why everybody must live healthy and avoid lifestyles that put the heart at risk, as the theme for this year’s World Heart Day, which was observed yesterday, September 29, suggests. This way, we do not end up having heart diseases and their associated consequences, including death.
One will ask, how do we know and use our hearts? As the two cardiologists who spoke at the launch of the World Health Day said, we can all do so by regularly visiting the hospital to check our blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), sugar and fat levels. Knowing the condition of the heart will help us to rule out whether we have hypertension, diabetes or are obese, all of which have been identified as risk factors for heart diseases and stroke.
Health experts have said that early detection of these cases and management go a long way to save life. For those who are put on medication after such check-ups, especially hypertensive cases, it is important they take their medication, as failure to do so can lead to heart problems.
We should bear in mind that management of heart diseases in the country is very expensive, and one that the ordinary Ghanaian cannot afford. For the diagnosis of a heart disease and treatment, according to Professor Tettey, one needs about GH¢40,000, while a heart surgery costs not less than GH¢80,000. It is to avoid such unpleasant financial costs and situations that we should act now to protect our hearts.
It is, however, sad that despite these huge costs involved in the management of heart cases, there are a lot of Ghanaians who are suffering from various forms of heart diseases in the country.
The best for us all is prevention and for people to undertake regular check-ups and live healthy lifestyles. Those who have been diagnosed of the risk factors of heart diseases should do as directed by their specialists. That is the way we can all know and manage the condition.
The Daily Graphic commends the management of the Cardiothoracic Centre for the initiative to establish a National Heart Institute that would, among others, attend to the numerous people with heart problems. It also commends them for the foundation it intends to set up that will raise funds to support the establishment of the institute and make heart surgery in the country free.
The paper lends its support to the clarion call for all Ghanaians to support the centre to raise funds for this noble cause when the foundation is launched in a few weeks’ time.