It is highly presumed that family health history is the building block of heart attack cases. This is way-off as researchers have found that only 47% of heart attack cases is associated with family health history, others gain it in the absence of a defective gene. The risk factors for the development of a heart attack are examined under a lot more causes vis-a-vis not having a family history of it.
The heart is a muscle that delivers and effectuates blood to the body. An example of this is a power source that runs a big mansion, if it fails the entire system fails. However, old age is a contributing factor to heart attacks. People at the age of 65 and above experience body changes such as aging in cells, shrinkage in muscles, bones, and joints, and defective body organs that if not well treated, can lead to serious illnesses.
The major cause of heart attacks in elderly people is the pile-up of collagen by the arterial wall. This causes blockage and prevents blood from running through some parts of the body thereby stopping the overall performance of the body.
A 2017 survey done by Quartz Africa in four Countries: Kenya, Ghana, Burkinafaso, and South Africa discovered that heart attacks and other heart-related problems are a huge health problem in Africa, and by 2025, low and middle-income African countries are pending to have 75% of elderly people with health problems.
The study also found that some countries were likely to worsen than the others. A case in point is South Africa, 50 percent of people in South Africa within the ages of 40 and 60 experienced a Heart Attack related problem, compared to Burkinafaso which has 15 percent domination.
According to a pediatric cardiologist and President of Heart Association in South Africa, Dr liesl Zühlke, in a conversation with ‘The Conversation’, “South Africa Experience more heart attack cases partly because of rapid urbanization. She progressed to address how high blood pressure, smoking, inappropriate drinking, unhealthy eating as well as consuming unnatural foods can be of risk to the heart.
Moreover, another critical risk factor is Smoking. It has been found that one of five people who die of heart attack smokes. This is because breathing-in cigarette smokes not only pollutes the blood with poisons, It also modifies the components that make blood. In detail, inhaling smoke renders a pile-up of dirt in the blood. This pile-up comprises cholesterol, fat, and other redundancies. They then gain momentum at the arterial wall becoming a disease called Atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis makes blood compose into clots and blood cells become difficult to move in the body organs, turning into a Heart Attack. In cities too, air pollution is a practice that people sometimes overlook. However, air pollution has the same effect as smoking to the body. According to a 2019 WHO report, 20 percent of all heart attacks are caused by breathing contaminated air. Therefore, in highly urban areas, most people are likely to suffer from heart attacks as the case is in South Africa.
Other Risk Factors are high blood pressure and diabetes. Risk factors, as well as symptoms, may differ from persons. While some may present a severe sign, others may not show any symptoms at all. For these people, a heart arrest may strike at any point. When this happens, time is a virtue. Simple medical practices like hitting the back and mouth to mouth resuscitation can be learned by individuals as they are found to slightly keep the situation in check. Getting them to the hospital immediately is the most essential thing to do.
In as much as family health history is considered under the risk factor for heart attacks, the disease cannot be accounted for that alone. Other factors such as smoking, old age, and eating unhealthy puts one in more risk of a heart attack.
However, the enhancement of health upgrade in Africa is needed to extend awareness but in a more important way, qualification to better health care and facilities are required for better handling of the emergency to be able to ward-off an unfamiliar epidemic in Africa.
This article was written by Yusuf Shuqrah Oluwadamilola, for healthomy.com