A consultant cardiologist, Dr Ramond Moronkola, has advised Nigerians to be conscious of what they eat and drink, to minimise the risk of heart-related diseases.
Moronkola, who works with Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.
He said many of the staple foods and beverages being consumed were responsible for heart-related diseases.
The cardiologist listed them as bread, processed foods, pounded yam, noodles, sugar, Coca Cola, Fanta, Pepsi, Seven Up and cassava, among others.
Moronkola said consuming these items on regular basis, was dangerous to health, as they could lead to heart/cardiovascular-related diseases.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a class of diseases that involves the heart or blood vessels, such as hypertension and Blood Pressure (BP).
According to him, most cardiovascular-related diseases could be controlled, if detected at the early stage.
“Cardiovascular diseases are silent killers, and if not detected at the early stages, the sufferer is at high risk and can lead to sudden death.
“It is more expensive to treat the ailment and cheaper to prevent, by maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, checking cholesterol, avoiding too much carbohydrates and sugar.
“We can avoid cardiovascular diseases by eating less carbohydrates, but more vegetables and drinking more water than fizzy drinks,” he said.
The cardiologist said the major way to prevent hypertension was through lifestyle changes; diet and exercise.
He advised on low salt dietary approach to stop hypertension, adding that diuretic and calcium channel blockers were effective treatment in the management of the disease.
According to him, studies have shown that low salt intake, is likely to reduce the possibility of hypertension.
Moronkola noted that diet, lifestyle modifications and enlightenment must be part of all treatment regimens.
“To control hypertension, lifestyle modification is very important.
“There are people who always add salt to their meal, salt intake should be greatly reduced. You can use more of spices since they have some salt contents and that will reduce the amount of salt.
“Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, fruits that contain potassium, because they help reduce high blood pressure. Fruits like bananna and orange, help in controlling and preventing high blood pressure.
“Also, reduce alcohol and smoking; when you are able to do all these things, it will help in controlling not just high blood pressure, but diabetes and low cholesterol level,” he advised.
Speaking on the treatment, he said all patients with high blood pressure above normal should be treated with non-pharmacological interventions like heart-healthy diet, reducing sodium intake and intake of potassium supplementation.
Others, he said, included increasing physical activity and losing body weight for those who are overweight.
“Normal blood pressure is less than 120mmHg/less than 80mmHg, elevated is 120-129mmHg/less than 80mmHg.
“Stage 1 hypertension is 130-139mmHg/80-89mmHg, stage 2 is greater than or equal to 140mmHg/greater than or equal to 90mmHg,” he explained.