Dr. Camillus Ezugwu

By Ikechukwu Odu

NSUKKA—-An Assistant Professor of Medicine and Cardiology, at Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Maryland in the United States of America, Dr. Camillus Ezugwu, has harped on the need for regular heart checks in order to prevent the complications which come with cardiovascular diseases.

Dr. Ezugwu, who is also the Founder of Heart Disease and Prevention Centre, HDPC, at Onuiyi, Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State, said that ignoring the triggers to heart problems such as High Blood Pressure, HBP, and diabetes would always result in cardiovascular complications which is costly to treat.

He made the call at his HDPC office in Onuiyi, Nsukka, weekend, where he equally bemoaned lack of quality heart treatment facilities in Nigeria, adding that the options left for the citizens are early detection and prevention of heart diseases.

“The primary service we render here is geared towards preventing complications of diseases that affect the heart such as hypertension and diabetes. We prevent stroke, heart failure, heart attack and the likes because we find out that these conditions wreak havoc in the communities. Many people die suddenly for no apparent reason and you would later find out that they had heart problems which nobody knew about.

“So, our services here are designed to prevent those things. It is like a clinic where people check their hearts’ status.

“We have different modalities of testing, going from EKG, which is done to check the heart, echocardiogram, to see how the heart is functioning. We also do stress testing to see if there are issues with blood flow around the heart, and also the Coronary Computed Tomography Angiogram, CCTA, which is done to look at the blood vessels around the heart. We also do what we call Calcium Scoring, which is done to pick up any problem with the blood vessels ahead of time.

“Our goal is to pick up these diseases early and manage them. In a place like the USA, people may run into problems like heart failure, that is where the heart gets very weak and we can manage them with mechanical things to support the heart or even do heart transplant, but that is not the case here in Nigeria due to lack of treatment facilities and equipment. Most of the times, our people here assume that heart problems happen all of a sudden, but that is not true. These problems gradually build up to a stage where there would be complications in the heart. If you have hypertension which is not carefully managed, it would get to a time when it would begin to affect the heart.

“The greatest call I can give to anybody is to understand the concept of prevention. Everybody, no matter how poor you are can afford to prevent heart disease from occuring, but when complications of heart disease come, it becomes so expensive to treat. Sometimes, you maybe required to go abroad for treatment, “he explained.

He explained that HDPC at Onuiyi Nsukka has laboratory, pharmacy, nursing and library sections among others.

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