What you need to know:
- Kenyans must focus on making healthier choices and help others around them to do the same
- In addition, they should reduce salt intake and avoid fast foods and processed foods
Diseases of the heart and arteries, such as heart attacks and stroke, continue to be the leading cause of death globally.
This year’s World Heart Day commemoration was unique in many ways. This is because heart diseases have been brought to the limelight in the wake of Covid-19.
Patients with heart diseases and hypertension are at high risk of developing severe Covid-19, and even dying if infected with the virus. In addition, previously, healthy Kenyans have developed heart complications after contracting the coronavirus.
The pandemic has also contributed to an increase in some of the risk factors of heart disease and affected access to treatment for patients with these diseases.
While infectious diseases still contributed the highest proportion of mortality and morbidity in Kenya, emerging statistics are showing that these trends are changing.
Why are we seeing this shift in disease burden? A majority of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) come about due to lifestyle related factors such as diet and alcohol intake. With urbanisation and globalisation, our diet has rapidly shifted from traditional healthier foods to fast foods or processed foods, which have been linked to heart diseases.
Kenyans must focus on making healthier choices and help others around them to do the same. These include exercising. In addition, they should reduce salt intake and avoid fast foods and processed foods. Patients with heart disease should strictly adhere to recommendations by the Ministry of Health to prevent infection with the coronavirus.
The government should enact policies that protect Kenyans from risk factors. This include enforcement of the tobacco policies, banning of alcohol advertisement and increasing taxation of unhealthy products .