For millions of people all over the world, there is no longer a shred of doubt that Covid real. It is here with us and it has been devastating. And even more devastating it has been amongst the elites, especially those with underlying ailments. Why has the virus been more ruthless with those with underlying ailments and how come some have been able to survive the virus attack despite having underlying ailments?
A Lagos based medical doctor, Dr. Folasade Alli, has shed more light on the subject. An experienced and accomplished cardiologist, Dr. Folasade Alli in this interview with City People explained why many people, particularly the elites, who have been battling with one ailment or the other, have had their lives cut.
Dr. Folasade Alli is a Consultant Cardiologist with Lagos Executive Cardiovascular Center.
As a doctor, how did you take the corona virus pandemic when it broke out?
The virus is a new thing to the medical profession and we were all taken aback, as we did not even know what the pattern of the disease was being new in medical history. Of course, we’ve had other coronaviruses but not like this one. This particular virus is a different variant. We did not know the pathophysiology so we had to do things as credible information was released by the leading research bodies and health authorities especially the WHO. It was important to know who was studying the virus, so I had to keep abreast with that information alongside the research findings. As this is not a textbook virus, we were left to study it ourselves and adhere to the advice from directives such as the WHO. But now things have progressed, information is a lot more accessible and we have a more solid understanding of what we are dealing with prior to March 2020. In essence, we are no longer completely in the dark and research is still ongoing as it should. Now we have a clear idea on what to do, how to manage patients, how to help patients and the community at large.
How do underlying ailments like Diabetes, BP, Kidney and liver issues, High sugar levels, Stroke and co help Corona virus? Like every viral infection naturally, viruses tend to reduce immunity which makes individuals more susceptible to other medical ailments Viral infection often times suppresses immunity, which is like taking over the normal function of the body until the body generates enough anti-bodies that it will use to curtail the effect of the virus. Something new with the virus is the fact that the presence of this particular antigen in the blood also stimulates coming together of blood cells such that the blood cells recognise those viral antigens and start clumping together activating blood clot in the system. With diabetes and these other conditions, the immunity of the body is already weakened. If people have diabetes that is not controlled, or high blood pressure that is not controlled which suppresses the immunity already, when the virus attacks such body, it has a rippling effect on the immunity. High blood pressure causes blood clot and with the virus it makes it worse because the resistance to the flow is more. The same happens for people with kidney diseases. The presence of the virus in these people lead to complication in their health.
What role does Cardiovascular disease play in all these?
The effect of the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases is made more manifest in the presence of the virus, their complications become more severe. For example, if you have high cholesterol level that is not being managed, the presence of the virus exaggerates the effects of the existing conditions in the body.
What is your advice to our elites who are seriously being affected by the Corona virus
Majority of these elites, often times have these condition in their system, that they were not managing properly. Some of them do not do regular checkups even the professors. One of the things Covid is teaching us is that we need to be more conscious of our health: What is my blood pressure? What is my blood sugar? What is my cholesterol level? Being in the proper know how of what your health status is is so critical more than ever, and will continue to be so even after we’ve reached herd immunity. Also seeking help about their health from the appropriate places is important especially from a cardiologist. Majority of the symptoms of cardiovascular diseases are asymptomatic, so the absence of symptoms does not mean that all is well. There are people who have survived the attack of the virus even with existing ailment but due to proper management of the existing ailment, they are able to overcome the virus attack. Also, the recognition of the virus from the very beginning is important. Do not think you have malaria and self treat. I repeat, it may not be malaria. It is likely covid. I advice my patients now that when they think they have malaria they must come in for a covid risk assessment which includes investigations such as D-Dimer, CT Chest scan and so on. From this, they avoid waiting up to 48 hours for a PCR test as we are to tackle the virus from its onset. So far, we have seen success rates in the treatment of such patients, most of whom ended up home isolating while managing their hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease and so on.
Dr. Folasade Alli, Consultant Cardiologist at Lagos Executive Cardiovascular Centre.
10b, Chief Albert Iyorah, Off Babatunde Anjous, Lekki Phase I, Lagos
Lagos Executive Cardiovascular Centre
Healthier Heart, Longer Life
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