Chronic diseases- why the wealthy are mainly victimized

There has been a steady rise in the burden of Non-Communicable Diseases, also referred to as chronic diseases. They are the leading cause of death worldwide. They include heart/cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, chronic kidney and respiratory diseases and are responsible for the majority of NCD-related illnesses and deaths in Nigeria.

The National Cancer Prevention Programme reeled out a frightening statistics that indicates that no fewer than 80,000 Nigerians die from various forms of cancer diseases annually: while the World Health Organisation and the International Diabetes Federation report of 2014, says there were 3.9 million Nigerians who were diabetic.

The report from Stroke Centre of Excellence in Abuja indicates that 168 people die of stroke daily in Nigeria, while 18 stroke cases are recorded every hour. It also indicates that Nigeria records 160,000 cases of stroke annually and that is indeed, worrisome. It underscores the seriousness of the problem of hypertension and the endemic nature of chronic diseases.

The low income earners and the poor in the society are also affected, although the wealthy and rich in the society can afford the best of medical check-ups and treatment in the best of health facilities around the world, this disease doesn’t easily escape them. They are most hit. Often times, they manage and live with these diseases or never return alive. One begins to wonder why this trend?

The rich are majorly prone to eating foods that cause high blood pressure and high cholesterol every day. Obesity, related to diet, is one major issue why affluent Nigerians are dying. They can afford alcoholic drinks and consumption of westernized foods that encourage weight gain. They have chefs, drivers and other staff to assist in their domestic and general daily activities. This makes them less physically active and thus, results in weight gain and the accompanying heart attack and sudden death.” Almost half of all deaths attributable to NCDs have nutrition as the predominant risk factor. Nutrition is the process of providing food necessary for health, growth and wellbeing; it plays a significant role in the quality of life and longevity.

War against Chronic Disease Initiative (WACDi) is an NGO saddled with the task of eradicating chronic disease across Africa majorly through campaigns and sensitization on prevention schemes.

Prevention is always better than cure…

Olujide Mayowa Oyelade

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