ALCOHOL consumers should drink in moderation to avert health complications, a Consultant Endocrinologist and Diabetologist at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Yacoba Atiase has advised.
“If you can stop alcohol, please do but I know many of us here can’t stop so if you want to take it, take one a day after work but to pile it up and kill all on Friday or Saturday is dangerous to your heart,” she said.
At the 4th Biennial Public Lecture of the College of Health Sciences of University of Ghana in Accra on Thursday, Dr Atiase who is also a lecturer at the University of Ghana Medical School, said alcohol consumption increased the chance of developing heart complications.
The lecture, on the theme, “Heart Attack; An Emerging Disease We Cannot Ignore”, brought together health professionals, academia and medical science students to deliberate on the threat of cardiovascular diseases.
According to Dr Atiase, smoking, a modifiable cause of heart attack, like alcohol, is also a leading causative attitude of heart attacks, saying “Quitting smoking is one of the best ways to save the heart.”
Research, she said, had established that cardiovascular diseases were the number one killer in the world and in the case of Ghana, the leading killer in Accra.
She said human lifestyle, apart from some non-modifiable causes like age, gender, and race, was the leading cause of heart ailments and urged that people watched their lifestyles to preserve the hearts.
Dr Alfred Doku, a Consultant Physician and a Cardiologist at the National Cardiothoracic Centre of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, on his part, said in the face of evidence that cardiovascular ailments were on the rise but government policies were not addressing the menace.
“It appears the very thing that is killing our people, we don’t have solutions to them. We are living in dangerous times,” he groaned and asked: “is the system ready?”
He said apart from a functioning system to address the challenge, there was the need to increase public knowledge on heart attacks and what to do when confronted with one.
Dr Doku advocated that the country improved its emergency response system, provide defibrillators and electrocardiogram equipment at hospitals to deal with cases.
“As a country, it appears we are not ready because our health system is not aligned to the changes in the trend of heart related ailments,” he said.
The acting Provost of the College of Health Sciences, Professor Margaret Lartey, in her remarks, said once a rarity, heart attack was becoming a more common disease and was affecting Ghana’s younger population.
This trend, she said, needed to be tackled head-on by providing the medical environment that addresses the phenomenon which is as a result of lifestyle.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI