A renowned cardio surgeon, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, has called on the Ghanaian public, especially young adults, to “take control of their lives” to avoid preventable deaths.
He noted that pressure of work, coupled with unhealthy eating habits, drinking, smoking, lack of exercise, among other negative practices, was cutting short the lives of many people.
He said the situation could be curtailed if people took a keen interest in how they lived their lives.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra Monday, the heart surgeon indicated that stress was increasingly touching the lives of many people these days but managing it had always been a difficult problem.
He said although stress was normal with human life, it could result in health, psychological, emotional and even physical problems, including heart attacks, if left unmanaged.
Even though he said there were certain stress-related issues one could hardly avoid, “It is important for people to know the things that stress them and avoid them.”
He would not delve into the death of ace BBC journalist, Mr Komla Afeke Dumor, who reportedly died from cardiac arrest in London last Saturday, saying, “As a doctor, I cannot stand here and say I know what killed him.”
Nonetheless, he stated that heart attack always had a trigger and stress could be one.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng, one-time Director of the National Cardiothoracic Centre and CEO of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, said he was saddened by the demise of the man he described as a great personality and intelligent journalist.
Journalists and stress
He emphasized the fact that journalists, especially those working with the international media, were under constant stress from their work “because we expect a lot from them”.
But it was not only journalists who were under stress, as the situation cut across all spheres of life.
“Just imagine the watchman who cannot make ends meet but has to spend sleepless nights keeping watch at his workplace,” he noted.
Such a person, Prof Frimpong-Boateng noted, could never run away from stress but could at least manage it.
Poor management of stress
He expressed concern over the way some people took to unhealthy ways of managing their stress.
He said, for instance, that some resorted to smoking, drinking and living quiet lifestyles by withdrawing from friends.
“These can never solve the problem; they can only compound the problem,” he noted.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng indicated that the effect of stress could be compounded if one was under conditions such as high blood pressure (HBP).
High Blood Pressure
He said the irony of the situation was that some hypertensive would neither take their drugs nor seek medical attention even though they were aware of their situations.
He gave some frightening statistics about HBP in the country, indicating that about 40 per cent of Ghanaians above 40 years had the condition but 30 per cent of that figure did not know they had the medical problem.
Eating local food
While calling on Ghanaians to eat “our own food” because it was healthy, Prof Frimpong-Boateng also stressed the need for improved environmental practices to improve human lives.
He wondered why in Ghana food was served in plastic bags, when research indicated that plastic posed health threats to human lives.
He advised people to periodically check their blood pressure and take their medication regularly.