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Smoking, Sugar Major Causes Of Heart Diseases – Specialists Say 

By Francis Tim Mbom

Doctors specialised in heart diseases and related illnesses have stated that cigarette smoking, the consumption of too much salt and sugar constitute the major cause of heart diseases.

The team of heart specialists: Martin Gary Rich from the US, Prof. Blackett Ngu from the Yaounde University Teaching Hospital, Dr Anastase Dzudie, Samuel Fotso, among others gave a health talk on cardiovascular diseases at the Limbe Council Hall, Thursday, August 13.

This was part of activities organised by AES SONEL in the Southwest Region.
67-year-old Gary Rich from the Ochsner Medical Institute in the USA with 35 years of experience disclosed that the development of most heart complications with resultant fatalities, was a result of what he termed, the "bad foods" people consume.

Gary went on to state that heart diseases, today, account for the leading cause of ‘sudden deaths.’ And he said that a lot of what provokes these heart ailments hinged more on the kinds of foods people go munching. Fries, cigarettes, fatty, salty and sugary foods, he said, were not good for the proper functioning of the heart over time.

As to why these foods were bad when in most cases they tend to be very palatable and, some, even causing people to become addicted to them, Gary said that their contents was the problem. He said that the heart was a pump and its main function was to pump purified blood through blood vessels to several parts of the body know as arteries. Gary said that for the pumping operation to go on smoothly all through your life, these channels: the arteries must at all times be passable. They must not be blocked.

Gary went on to explain that the consumption of fatty foods, cigarettes, sugar and others over time tends to deposit cholesterols or fatty deposits along the artery passages from the heart and thus, blocking the free flow of blood. These, blockages, they said, are what usually lead to heart diseases.

Sometimes, they stated, the sharp pains one would experience on the chest is as a result of the fact that one or more of these arteries has been clogged. Gary advised that it is better to prevent than to treat: "Smoking causes lungs cancer. People who smoke have a higher probability of developing blocked arteries," she said. Professor Ngu added that people needed to limit their alcohol intake if they would have to steer clear of heart complications.

"Mind your blood pressure, modify your life style, know treatment is for life," she cautioned.
Meantime, Dr. Fotso, a dietician, stressed on the need for people to limit their consumption of meat, fish, sugar, salt and fruit juice and go more for fruits and vegetables. He also cautioned that cholesterol free oil like vegetable and Soya bean oil were preferable for our foods. Nevertheless, he said too much oily foods and fries, in general endangers the functioning of the heart.


The Regional Manager of AES Sonel, Lucas Fotso, said that the main reason for the drive was because they had discovered that people, including their staffers, were becoming more and more affected by heart diseases. That is why, he said, AES SONEL took the decision, four years back, to see how in collaboration with the University of Buea, they can help fight the disease.

It was revealed that 25 percent of Cameroonians today were at risk of having heart diseases. And that 17 million people around the world do die of heart related diseases annually. 70 percent of these lots, today, were in Africa which has got less of the resources to handle the treatment. The symposium culminated in a free screening on diabetes and hypertension in several hospitals in Limbe and elsewhere in Fako Division.

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