Cardiology Service Unit
What is cardiovascular disease (heart disease)? Cardiovascular diseases are diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular diseases include heart failure, myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmias, congenital heart disease, peripheral artery disease, rheumatic heart disease. Cardiovascular diseases are the number 1 cause of death globally, causing 17.9 million deaths annually. More than 80% of these deaths occur in low and middle income countries including sub-Saharan Africa. Of these deaths, 85% are due to heart attack and stroke. In the Buea regional hospital, the major causes of cardiovascular diseases related admissions are heart failure followed by stroke and uncontrolled hypertension.
- What causes cardiovascular diseases? The exact cause of cardiovascular disease isn’t clear, but there are lots of things that can increase your risk of getting it. These are called risk factors. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. The major risk factors for cardiovascular disease are hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, overweight or obesity, physical inactivity, family history of cardiovascular disease, age above 50 years. Other risk factors are excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet, gender (more are more at risk).
- What are the symptoms of cardiovascular disease? Symptoms of heart disease vary based on what condition you have and can include: chest pain, pain weakness or numb legs and/or arms, breathlessness, very fast or slow heartbeat, or palpitations, feeling dizzy, lightheaded or faint, fatigue, swollen limbs. How is cardiovascular disease diagnosed? The tests may be based on the symptoms and can include: Electrocardiogram (ECG), chest x-ray, blood tests, echocardiogram, holter monitoring, stress tests, ambulatory blood pressure monitoring etc
- How do we treat cardiovascular diseases? Treatment will depend on your condition. People with cardiovascular disease or who are at high cardiovascular risk need early detection and management using counselling and medicines, as appropriate. At the BUEA REGIONAL HOSPITAL, we provide quality, affordable comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. For children with congenital heart malformations that require cardiac surgery, the cardiologist work with the pediatrician to get the child operated abroad free of charge in partnership with foreign organizations. This is because the surgical procedure is expensive (millions) and most families of children with congenital heart defects cannot afford the treatment.
- How do we prevent cardiovascular disease? Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce your chances of getting heart disease: Control your blood pressure and blood sugar, keep your cholesterol level under control, stay at a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, limit alcohol, and don’t smoke