Heart diseases up in Mulago

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th March 2001 03:00 AM

The number of people with heart diseases and high blood pressure is increasing rapidly in Uganda, a heart specialist, Professor Roy Mugerwa, has said.

By Kikonyogo Ngatya The number of people with heart diseases and high blood pressure is increasing rapidly in Uganda, a heart specialist, Professor Roy Mugerwa, has said. Mugerwa, a senior consultant at the Uganda Heart Institute(UHI), in Mulago Hospital attributes the problem to the increasing consumption of fatty foods. Fat people, those who eat fast foods and other kinds of fat rich diets with a lot of salt, are more exposed to the risk of developing heart disorders. The doctor says that people who do not make fitness exercises and those with a history of heart diseases in their families are more likely to suffer. He said coronary heart disease in adults and holes in the heart for children are the commonest problems. In coronary complications, plucks of fat build up inside the walls of arteries, the small blood transporting tubes in the body. A normal wall of an artery is supposed to be smooth inside and able to close and open during its role in blood circulation. This function is disrupted by the fats, causing numerous heart failures, which may cause death. Mugerwa said that an average of three patients in a week are diagnosed with the disease at the Mulago Heart Clinic alone. He said that there are 3,500 reported cases of high blood pressure at the clinic resulting from obesity and other related heart problems. "Every week an average of 100 people report to the clinic with high blood pressure of which 20 are new severe high blood pressure cases," he said. "Basically, these diseases are due to a change in life styles. The more people get richer, the more they tend to eat heavy fatty meals and do little exercises. These diseases are more common among the elite and the middle class people, Mugerwa said. Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the developed countries. He said that the disease could also be avoided by not smoking. He revealed that there were also more patients reporting to the clinic with heart diseases, partly resulting from excessive drinking of alcohol. This condition is called cardiomyopathy. In this case, the muscles of the heart are diseased partly due to pumping blood with a lot of alcohol and other toxins from tobacco. There are several causes of the disease, but Mugerwa says that most patients in Mulago have a long history of over drinking that weakens the heart. Mugerwa said that children who suffer from rheumatic fever, mainly a bacteria infection that often develops into tonsillitis, pain in the throat area, are likely to suffer from the problem of a hole in the heart. He said that although most children with a hole in the heart have some generic background of the disease in their families, poor management of the fever exposes them to more chances of getting the disease. He said that the fever causing bacteria is present in the air, but can be prevented at an early stage with aspirin and other simple tablets. Endomyocardial fibrosis is another common heart problem in the country. Its exact cause is not known. It is associated with a scar on the heart muscle that affects its normal functions. Ends

Heart diseases up in Mulago

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