In the wake of several sudden deaths reported during a recent football match between Nigeria and South Africa, medical experts in the country are cautioning hypertensive individuals against participating in activities that may induce excitement or put excessive pressure on the heart.
Speaking on the matter, Dr Salau Ibrahim, a consultant cardiologist at the Federal Medical Centre in Jabi, highlighted potential causes for the sudden collapses, suggesting strokes, sudden heart attacks, or stress-induced heart problems as likely factors.
Dr. Ibrahim emphasized that age, coupled with existing health issues such as heart problems or kidney complications, necessitates careful consideration of activities that may stress vital organs.
“The major causes of such sudden deaths are stroke or heart attack. Regular checkups and lifestyle modification are crucial. If you have any background comorbidity like hypertension or diabetes, ensure you take your medications regularly,” Dr. Salau told Leadership newspaper.
Another expert, Dr Ramon Moronkola from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), linked the deaths to possible strokes resulting from cardiac arrest and heart or brain issues.
Dr Moronkola explained that emotional surges, such as those experienced during intense football matches, could lead to a sudden increase in adrenaline and blood pressure, posing a significant risk to individuals with underlying cardiovascular diseases.
In addition to individuals with pre-existing conditions, those with genetic predispositions may also be at risk of abnormal heartbeats triggered by emotional surges, potentially leading to fatal outcomes, cautioned Dr. Moronkola.
They urged Nigerians, particularly those with known heart conditions, to undergo regular heart checks and take preventive measures.
Dr. Chira Obiora, a consultant family physician at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, emphasized the importance of general medical checks, advising individuals to be aware of their health challenges.
“Excitement, whether positive or negative, releases hormones such as adrenaline. For hypertensive individuals, this can trigger heart problems, heart attacks, or even strokes,” warned Dr. Obiora.
The experts also called on the government to enhance the country’s emergency response system and ensure public spaces, such as airports, supermarkets, and churches, are equipped with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to aid in cases of sudden cardiac arrests.
As a precautionary measure, individuals are advised to be mindful of their emotional responses during events like football matches, and those prone to excitement-induced health issues are urged to consider alternatives to prevent potential risks.