Health News of 2014-04-02

Blacks more prone to heart diseases

Six out of ten persons of the black race, are more susceptible to heart failures, Dr. Philip Amoo, a Physician Specialist at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, has said.

According to him, persons of the black race are more prone to developing cardiovascular diseases as well as cancers which are usually transmitted through the gene and partly due to poor lifestyle.

Heart failure means that the heart is not able to pump blood as well as it should. Several young persons have had their lives terminated unexpectedly by heart-related diseases in recent times.

Four risk factors are the strongest predictors of heart failure: high blood pressure (also called hypertension), chronic kidney disease, being overweight, and having low levels of HDL, the "good" cholesterol. Most Africans who reportedly develop heart failure, have high blood pressure by age 40, according to research.

Speaking on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Wednesday, Dr. Amoo noted that the situation has become pronounced in the country in recent times because of failure to give due regard to the risk factors.

He said: "To have a new hypertension when it's not in the family or in your gene, you would get it at 60 [which means] you must abuse your body for a long time. But what do we see?"

"...If our fathers in the village where they are not exposed to these junk foods they hardly ever have these heart attacks, hypertension and so on. Because even though they have the gene that will make them predisposed to all these, the external factor [lifestyle] that must be coupled to it before you'll have the disease are not there.

"So if you take Ten Ghanaians from the village somewhere with clean blood pressure...and bring them to Accra, exposed them to the junk food; you wait within Ten years, Six of them would come down with blood pressure," Dr. Amoo concluded.

He therefore advised regular checkups particularly for persons of 35 years and above in order not to have their lives abruptly cut by the disease.

"By the age of 35...checking your blood pressure every year is non-negotiable. Once you are a black [race] make sure that at least yearly you check your blood pressure. If you have your mother, your father, [any relative] coming down with hypertension, diabetes then know that you have a higher risk of inheriting the disease and it's just a matter of time".

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