April 24, 2024

NAFDAC on ways to prevent heart failure

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NAFDAC on ways to prevent heart failure

A little good health habit with common sense and an appropriate lifestyle can help to reduce the increasing level of kidney failure so prevalent in the country; ELEOJO IDACHABA writes.

A former vice-principal (academic) in one of the secondary schools located in Bwari in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Usman Ocholi, died recently in an Abuja hospital after battling with a kidney problem for over three years.

Beginning from the Federal Medical Centre in Lafia to the Federal Medical Centre in Lokoja and finally to the Garki General Hospital in Abuja, he, family members, friends, and colleagues spent huge amounts of money to put him on his feet again, yet death came calling towards the end of January, this year. If money and solidarity could save one’s life, Ocholi would have lived to tell his story, but that never was never to be as he was buried a fortnight ago in his Obagu community, Ofu local government area of Kogi state.

Uchenna Adimora, a taxi driver also died recently in Abuja after it was discovered that his two kidneys could no longer sustain him. According to his wife, his condition became bad because his kidneys could no longer naturally expel waste products from the body coupled with the fact that he could not afford a transplant; hence, his legs and other parts of his body became swollen before he died in December 2022.

Elsewhere in Lagos, a retired Air Force officer from Ijumu in Kogi state, Durojaye Momoh, also died in December due to a kidney-related illness. According to the report, he had less than five years to retire from service but had to pull out because he could no longer cope with the rigors associated with the job in that condition. Less than three years after, he reportedly died.

In all of these, Blueprint Weekend’s investigation revealed that before their inevitable deaths, those patients could not afford a kidney transplant in any good hospital within not to talk anywhere outside the country. For some who could afford to do a transplant either locally or outside the country, the chance of survival is 50/50.

It could be recalled that it was while on a similar mission abroad for his daughter that former Senate president Ike Ekweremadu is still languishing in a UK detention facility. There are several unreported cases of patients who have lost their lives on account of kidney problems. The lucky ones often live a restricted life either on a diet or other health habits and lifestyles.

NAFDAC boss’ counsel

Further investigations showed that there are causes of kidney failure, many of which are self-inflicted; for instance, recently while briefing the media about the breakthrough by her agency on ways of tracking high consignment of tramadol and other pharmaceuticals into the Republic of Benin, the director-general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, used the opportunity of that occasion to advise Nigerians against certain habits that were capable of placing fatigue on certain parts of the body, especially kidneys.

She advised against people subjecting themselves to long hours of fasting, as according to her, it was risky to the workings of the human kidneys. The NAFDAC boss who attributed the current high rate of kidney problems in the country to prolonged fasting by some religious adherents, therefore, advised that those subjecting themselves to such prolonged religious exercises must moderate the act in their own interest.

She said, “Kidney failures are so rampant these days; we are a very religious country, no doubt, as Muslims and Christians fast a lot and this is part of the kidney problem.

“Your body has to have homeostatic balance, meaning that the water level in your body must be enough to make your organs to function. Some people would fast for 10 or 20 days and drink only a little water. By doing this, the kidney is being punished. Now, if you put chemicals in it, it triples in an exponential manner and damages the kidney because the kidney doesn’t have water to dilute and filter.”

“Therefore, as a caution, she added, “I fast but with common sense. We have to fast with common sense otherwise we would pay with our kidneys.”

Today, in Nigeria, of the commonest killer diseases currently taking its toll on the lives of the old and young, kidney failure ranks highest.

An expert’s view

Experts like Dr. Ifunanya Atuche, a nutritionist, are of the belief that the major cause of kidney-related illnesses is the wrong lifestyle resulting from wrong food and drink intake.

“Experiences and empirical data have confirmed that people unconsciously damage vital organs of the body through an adopted lifestyle that the body system cannot accommodate. When I read what the NAFDAC DG said about fasting, I agreed totally with her. You cannot dehydrate the body in the name of spiritual exercise for too long and not expect a consequence. Funnily enough, such people, after staying away from food and liquid for a long time, approach food substances wrongly. At that point, the body system which had been denied essential nutrients to function after long fasting finds it difficult to accommodate certain food, and when forced on it, the likely outcome is a strain on vital organs like the liver and the kidney. It is common sense to ensure that you keep the internal organs of the body well hydrated to function to avoid friction. “

Hereditary?

On whether kidney failure is hereditary or not, a traditional medicine practitioner, Onu Adejo, said it’s not so. “There is no reason for anyone to assume that kidney-related problems can be inherited. It is not like diabetes or high blood pressure that one can say because of one’s parents, it can automatically be inherited. It’s simply caused by certain food intake and even drugs. By that I mean to say that not all medications are good for the body. Reactions to drugs are different from person to person and that is why what works for one patient may not work for another,” he said.

Survivor narrates ordeal

Speaking with this reporter, a kidney failure survivor who does not want her name in print said she cannot explain why one of her kidneys reportedly stopped working a few years back.

She said, “Around 2015, I took ill and went to Wuse General Hospital. After the initial admission, I returned home but less than a month later, I took ill again and was referred to Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital where after a series of tests, I was told that one of my kidneys was not functioning well. The news alone made me shrink. How it happened, I cannot explain. All I knew was that my parents never had the problem and when I told my mum, she came over and stayed with me. As a public servant, I had no problem at the workplace. Along the line, a nutritionist with Kubwa General Hospital by the name of Madam Cordelia advised that I ensure to take enough liquid, avoid spicy food, rest well, and of course pray. There was also a herb given to me through my mother. I continued on this plus cutting down on certain food. I discovered that I was no longer feeling ill as before. To cut the story short, I went back to do a scan in 2017 and was told that the kidney is working now. That is why I know that a wrong lifestyle could trigger kidney problems.”

Wrong lifestyle

In the last 10 years or so, the entertainment industry, especially Nollywood and the music industry, had lost a number of notable figures due to kidney problems traceable to negative lifestyles that do not conform to the body.

A laboratory technician in Limi Hospital who preferred to be anonymous told Blueprint Weekend that generally lifestyle causes the bulk of challenges resulting from kidney problems.

“That is why most of the sufferers are ‘big’ men. Even in the public hospitals, our colleagues there confirm too that most of the patients who come for kidney problems are rich people. There are few instances of poor persons with such complaints except those whose kidneys may have been damaged due to their carelessness,” he said.

Prevention

As a solution, Dr. Atuche advised that from time to time, individuals should embark on self-cleansing measures through the use of natural food supplements like garlic and garden egg leaves.

She said, “For garden egg leaf, it is cheap in the market. When boiled and taken as tea from time to time, it can help to clean the kidney. Don’t wait to be diagnosed before you do that. The egg can also come in handy. It should not be taken alongside ground nuts as many do.

“Eat it whole. Ensure the usage of garlic in your food also and avoid taking either fish or animal bones. They can cause damage to the kidney because they are hard to digest and that could put a strain on the kidney. And to those who derive pleasure in being drunk into a stupor, it’s not good for both the kidney and liver. Since we are talking about lifestyle, moderation is the watchword.”

Could it be true to say that in the market today there are products that when taken are dangerous to human health as against the days of yore when there were few reported cases of kidney problems because there were a few such products? But like the popular saying; a word is enough for the wise.

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