Prof. Philip Kolo of the Department of Medicine, University of Ilorin, on Friday postulated that Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) affects more than 64 million people worldwide.
Kolo said this in his paper presentation at the 236th Inaugural Lecture of Unilorin, entitled: “Power and The Failed Pump: Travails and Remedies for Broken Hearts”.
He observed that the incidence of CHF was increasing because of ageing population and high rate of aged-related cardiac disease.
“Whereas, CHF is a disease of old people affecting people in the seventh decade of life in high-income countries, it is a disease of the young and middle aged in sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.
Kolo, a lecturer in the Faculty of Clinical Sciences, said this had serious economic implications because it was at these ages that they are active to earn incomes.
He explained that heart diseases were progressive in nature (Cardiovascular continuum).
“It starts with the presence of a risk factor that is highly associated with Heart failure causing alterations in the size and shape of the heart,” according to him.
The expert listed some risk factors to include systemic hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cigarettes smoking, elevated cholesterol and obesity.
Kolo submitted that the cost of managing heart failure globally was enourmous due to the cost of medications, transportation, recurrent hospitalisation and loss of manpower time.
He called for new policies needed to reduce out-of-pocket expenses by CHF patients and multidisciplinary care approach to reduce re-hospitalisation.
He tasked the Federal Government to declare hypertension, obesity, diabetes mellitus and other non-communicable diseases as public health emergencies.
Kolo warned that hypertension and mild elevation in blood pressure should not be ignored, but treated properly after individual risks are fully assessed.
He, therefore, advocated the establishment of Heart Institute in the six geopolitical zones in the country, which will make open heart surgery available in Nigeria.