•Consultant Cardiologist Reveals
Dr. Lasisi Gbolade Taiwo is a popular Lagos doctor who specialises in Cardiovascular issues. He is a Consultant Cardiologist and a very good one at that. Last week, the handsome and slim-built Lagos doctor spoke to City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE about how underlying ailments like Diabetes & BP exposes those in their 60’s to COVID-19. Below are excerpts of the interview where he revealed why those over 60 should protect themselves from COVID-19.
These days, people say a lot about Covid-19 and how underlying ailments help Covid-19 to spread. People say that rich people, a lot of elites are the ones suffering from it more than the general population. Are those stereotypes correct?
Talking about Covid-19 the underlying thing is how the body responds to the infection. And the surest thing is that there are some categories of patients that are prone to having severe Covid-19 infection. Of course, all age groups have the tendency of having the infection, but in most people, it is MILD to MODERATE. But some group of people are particularly prone to severe infection. AGE is the first criteria. The older you are, the more likely that the infection may be severe. But above the age of 65 are the patients who are likely to have a severe infection. So AGE is a big factor.
Apart from AGE, in all other age groups too, presence of Comorbidity (meaning some other diseases within the body) can also, irrespective of the age, tilt the balance for that person, and make that person have a severe infection. Among the list of Comorbidity is Obesity. If someone is Obese, it means the body mass in there is more than 30. You are prone to having a severe infection. So, Obesity is a factor. Good enough, we just published a study on Nigeria based on this to look at Cardiac Manifestations in Patients that have Covid Infections. And we looked at this category of patients. And we looked at what makes them prone to severe infections. And what are the Cardiac manifestations that are seen? We found out that of all these patients that have Cardiac Manifestations, out of 10, nine of them have Comorbidity and the commonest Comorbidity is 70%, they are patients that have Hypertension. And it is not just Hypertension, it is poorly controlled-Hypertension, So Hypertension is a risk factor, particularly if it is not well controlled.
Then, the other one is Diabetes. In our study of most of the patients we have had, 50% have Diabetes & Hypertension. So, diabetes is a risk factor for serious infection. So also Obesity. So, patients that have underlying Heart disease, like if they have had a history of heart failures in the past, they had clinical diseases, they are treating it, they have had Kidney disease, so the presence of these things is a marker for patients to have serious infections when they are infected with Covid-19.
So what is your advice to these set of people, who fall under this group?
My advice is for everybody, particularly for patients that have Comorbidity, they should limit their exposure to the virus. Number 1, they need to wear their masks, so that they can be well protected.
They need also to keep their social distance. They need also to limit their social activities, they should do only essential ones and not go in the midst of gathering where they are likely to get exposed, except they are sure it is the necessary things to do. So, anything that is not necessary they should avoid it. But when they need to do the ones that are necessary they should wear their masks and they should do the social distance. They should wash their hands.
These are the two categories of patients that should receive the vaccines when it is available.
How come a lot of people now suffer Cardiovascular ailments? It appears to be on the rise. Why is that so?
One, the burden of cardiovascular diseases are increasing, even in developing and developed countries and it is based on changing demographics and a lot of things. No 1 the incidence of attention is increasing, because of lifestyle too, because of Obesity & Diabetes. There are diseases of lifestyle. We don’t exercise. That is why the risk of suffering these cardiovascular diseases is increasing. Essentially, it is a combination & function of lifestyle.
Some patients report on time now. Some patients get treated faster now. Some patients get treated faster now. Some patients go to the hospital quickly. But majorly, it is a lifestyle disease and the more you have this lifestyle issue, the incidence will continue to increase.
These days, people talk a lot about the rise of patients with Diabetes and High blood sugar, why is that on the increase? Why is there a high incidence of high sugar level?
Yes. The rise in Blood Sugar is also called Diabetes. Why it is on the increase is one, as you get older, particularly once you get to 40 years and above, the tendency for Sugar level to increase is there. The pancreas that produces Insulin that controls all these things, with age the cells are getting depleted. That is why we said all these things are tied to diet and lifestyle, coupled with it, is the factor of inheriting some of it. For instance, if there is somebody in the family that has Diabetes and you are not screening for it and you are not.