Today, I would like to digress a little from our regular talk about money and address the twin issue of health. After all, they say health is also wealth.
This piece is inspired by a talk given by Dr. Moshood Abiodun Adeoye, a consultant cardiologist with the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, to the entire Tribune workforce at an edition of the company’s regular monthly seminars.
So it is indeed my pleasure to share my impression and lessons from the session with you today.
A healthy life
The amiable doctor impressed it on us all that health was not only the absence of infirmity and disease but also a state of physical, mental and social wellbeing. There was no doubt that the doctor, being a heart specialist, spoke more about health matters affecting the heart but then also, it is a fact that more people die from cardiovascular diseases than from any other non-communicable disease. Equally, an average of 300 people die daily as a result of cardiovascular diseases in Nigeria from hospital data, excluding those that die outside hospitals.
Dr. Adeoye impressed it on us that God did not make provisions for a hospital in Garden Eden probably because He did not mean for man to be sick but the habits of man had brought upon him the woes of infirmity. He also stated that cardiovascular diseases were more prevalent in the Western world but had ‘flowed’ over to Africa and the developing world simply because we copied the western lifestyle.
The major cardiovascular diseases, according to Adeoye, include coronary artery disease, stroke and brain attack, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and kidney-related diseases.
No heart, no life
Your heart, which is the size of your fist, is actually the strongest muscle in your body and it beats an average of 70 times a minute, 100,000 times a day and about 2.5 billion times in a life of 70 years. It equally pumps about 3,000 gallons of blood around the body daily. It is so important that its malfunctioning is a major health risk for the person so affeted.
Some of the non-modifiable (or non-preventable) risk factors for cardiovascular disease include age, the male sex and family history.
While the above factors are non-modifiable, the fact is that over 80 per cent of deaths from heart attack and stroke can be prevented by a healthy lifestyle through the prevention of some of the cardiovascular risk factors.
Things to prevent
Such factors include high fat and cholesterol consumption especially after age 40, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, high animal protein consumption, a lack of exercise, an excessive consumption of eggs and a high consumption of salt and calorie drinks e.g. soft drinks.
Even though scientifically, a little alcohol is good for the heart, this can easily be replaced by taking good food, fruits and exercising, which will all increase the good cholesterol in the body.
A sedentary lifestyle of virtually sitting in one spot the whole day, which can be engendered by the type of job one does is not recommended and one should otherwise exercise the heart muscle by at least taking a brisk 30-minute walk at least every other day of the week. Dancing and swimming are also recommended in this line.
The state of our health is determined largely by what we consume and so we ought to be extra careful about this.
All the salt you need in a day is contained in a level table spoon and plant protein is preferred to animal protein e.g. beans is better for the heart than beef, and more so an excessive consumption of animal protein can damage the kidney and cause heavy health complications.
Other salient points
One other surprising thing we learnt that Tuesday was that cow skin, which is believed by many to be healthy for consumption, is actually harmful if consumed in too large quantities, on account of its containing high cholesterol.
It is also instructive that one leant that red oil, rich in vitamins, is quite good for the heart because it contains good cholesterol, but becomes bad when ‘bleached’ by overheating since the good cholesterol now turns bad.
Speaking further on egg consumption, Dr. Adeoye said, “the day you take a piece of egg, you need no meat for that day.”
We equally learnt profoundly that, while it is true that smokers are at a great risk of cardiovascular diseases, among other ailments, second hand smokers (those who just inhale the smoke of cigarette around active smokers) may be at a greater risk, since their smoke is not filtered but is inhaled directly.
All in all, the heart is a jewel to be treasured as long as good health is one’s objective.
Think about it!
Until we meet again, please stay INSPIRED in His presence!