CARDIOVASCULAR specialists have warned of increasing cases of heart-related complications in the country, identifying the main five risk factors for heart diseases.
A Cardiologist and Head of Research and Training at JKCI, Dr Pedro Pallangyo told the ‘Daily News’ in Dar es Salaam at the just-ended fourth SADC industrialisation week and exhibition that heart diseases were on the rise and mainly contributed by unhealthy life choices.
He said that although changes in life system have improved life standards on one hand, on the other side it has fueled the risk of getting Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD), such as heart-related complications.
Dr Pallangyo said that the main five risk factors for heart complications and other cardiovascular diseases included smoking, excess body weight, poor nutrition, excessive alcohol use and lack of body exercise.
He explained that the number of people who smoke has increased compared to the past 15 to 20 years, thus posing health risk such as cardiovascular to the group.
Dr Pallangyo said that smokers can prevent themselves from heart-related complications by quitting the habit completely and not reducing it.
On excessive alcohol use, he said such a group can reduce the use of alcohol by drinking the recommended alcohol consumption while controlling their body weight.
“In the past, the main concern in the society was underweight, but today the situation has changed, and people are having excess body weight, which is not good for their health,” he said.
Dr Pallangyo further explained that in the past, people were faced with the problem of poor nutrition, which resulted in malnutrition, but today people are taking a high-fat diet which results in excess body weight.
According to the health specialist, the recommended ratio between body weight and height was 18.5: 24.9, therefore people who don’t fall under the recommended ratio should seek medical advice on how they could attain the said proportion.
He, however, said that people should also build a culture of doing regular body exercise in order to improve their health. Dr Pallangyo noted that according to health expert recommendation, people should be extra careful in using salt, sugar and fat in their food.
According to JKCI, the health facility has so far attended to more than 200,000 patients since it was established in September 2015. Among the patients, more than 1,000 underwent major and minor heart surgeries at the institute.
At more than 1,000 heart surgeries, Tanzania is the second country in Sub-Saharan Africa after Namibia, apart from South Africa, to have conducted such a big number of operations, Prof Janabi explained.
Last year, the institute performed 1,356 heart operations, making it a record high among all cardiac facilities in the continent.
According to International Heart Federation (IHF) and Tanzania Cardiac Society (TCS), at least 80 per cent of the cardiovascular premature deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases and cerebrovascular diseases like stroke can be prevented by controlling main risk factors such as unhealthy diet, tobacco and alcohol use, lack of physical activity, obesity, high blood pressure, poorly or untreated diabetes, and abnormal cholesterol.
Speaking during the International World Heart Day, Dr Robert Mvungi, Super Specialist of heart diseases and president of TCS, said cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of deaths globally, where 17.7 million people die every year from cardiovascular diseases, which is 31 per cent of all global deaths.
“Sadly enough, majority of them come from low and middle-income countries,” he said.