A Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Ramon Moronkola, says that underlying untreated cardiovascular health conditions can trigger causes that can lead to the sudden death of an individual.
Moronkola, who works with the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), made the assertion on Friday in Lagos, while reacting to the news of some Nigerians who passed on while watching the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
No fewer than four persons reportedly died on Wednesday night while watching the semi-final match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Bafana Bafana of South Africa, in the ongoing AFCON, in Cote D’Ivoire.
They include a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC), Dr Cairo Ojougboh; Deputy Bursar, Kwara State University, Malete, Ayuba Abdullahi, and a corps member serving in Adamawa State, identified as Samuel.
Anambra-born businessman, Osondu Nwoye, based in Cote d’Ivoire, was also reported to have collapsed inside the stadium, while watching the match and died later in hospital.
The Super Eagles won the match 4—2, in a penalty shoot-out.
Moronkola said that sudden emotional surge either extreme excitement or sadness could put a lot of pressure on the cardiovascular system of an individual.
According to him, if this individual has no underlying morbidity – that’s, the heart is fine, the vessels are okay; usually it doesn’t cause much problem, but in a situation where the individual already has some malfunctions in the system, it can result to sudden cardiac attack.
“There are situations where people die suddenly during emotional surge, because that’s definitely what happened. In that situation, it can happen when an individual is extremely happy or grieved.
“Similarly, during football match, people are really tensed, there are a lot of emotional commitment/assertion; this may put a lot of pressure on individual’s cardiovascular system.
“If such individual has no underlying health conditions, it usually doesn’t cause problem, but in a situation that such individual has underlying cardiovascular disease, maybe the person is hypertensive or diabetic and he doesn’t or he knows, but not managing it well.
“With the underlying cardiovascular diseases and the person is exposed to emotional surge, he/she can develop heart attack or heart failure and die,” he said.
The cardiologist, therefore, advised that people should develop the habit of going for regular medical checkup in order to identify and treat any underlying health conditions that might cause problem or lead to death.
According to him, people should not wait until they see symptoms before going for medical checkup, saying that most times symptoms only show when cases have been complicated.
Moronkola also advised that people who were at risk of developing cardiovascular challenges should desist from exposing themselves to emotional surge.
“The need for regular medical checkup can not be overemphasised.
“People should try to be doing medical checkup; they shouldn’t wait to see symptoms before going for medical check, perhaps, any underlying health condition will be detected and treated on time.
“Meanwhile, an individual should appreciate himself and know his limitations.
“There are people I know that don’t watch live matches especially matches that they are committed to, like Nigeria match; they’d rather stay away to sleep and when they wake up, they watch the match review.
“So, if you know that you are not okay; that ordinarily you have issues; maybe at any small thing you start having chest pain or your heart is beating very fast; if you know you get emotional when watching live matches or tensed event, it is better to stay away,” Moronkola said.
Also speaking, a Consultant Family & Lifestyle Medicine Physician, Dr Moyosore Makinde, advised that people should adopt lifestyle changes that would help in preventing contractions of the Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs).
Makinde, also the President, Society of Lifestyle Medicine of Nigeria (SOLONG), said that people should increase the intake of vegetables, proteins, nuts and fibre foods.
She identified ‘stress’ as the major cause of high blood pressure and sudden death among Nigerian adults.
According to her, there is need to create time for relaxation and sleep, saying studies have shown that people who don’t sleep well have a higher risk of developing heart attack compered to those who sleep about seven to eight hours per day.
“Try to avoid the class of foods that can trigger risk factors of cardiovascular diseases like high cholesterol level, diabetes, high sugar levels or excessive weight and always engage in active physical activities.
“Eat more of fruits and vegetables; avoid stress, avoid salty foods especially adding salt when food is already done and take enough rest,” she advised.