As the country commemorates World Heart Day, the Uganda Heart Institute has attributed a sedentary lifestyle and smoking tobacco as some of the major causes of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
According to the institute, people who live a sedentary lifestyle are those who don’t move more than 400 meters per day.
These are often sitting or lying down while engaged in an activity like socializing, watching TV, playing video games, reading or using a mobile phone or computer for much of the day.
One out of every 4 Ugandans has high blood pressure, which is 50% of all strokes and 30% of heart failure.
According to Dr Peter Lwabi, the Deputy Executive Director of Uganda Heart Institute, other causes of heart disease includes lack of adequate exercise and poor diet.
“Hypertension is the leading cause of death, causing more than 500,000 deaths per year and claiming 10 million lives in the last ten years. It is responsible for half of all strokes and one-third of all heart failure,” he noted.
He says the government is doing several interventions to address the challenges of heart disease through sensitization and awareness programs.
Lwabi adds that children are also vulnerable to suffering from heart diseases. He says of the 1.6 million babies born annually, 1% suffer from congenital heart disease.
Of this 1%, which is equivalent to 16,000 newborns, 8,000 always require heart surgeries.
“Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD), the most common cause of preventable acquired disease in children and young adults, remains endemic in Uganda. Rheumatic Heart Disease is estimated to affect 300,000 Ugandan school children,” he explains.
Dr Jescia Nsungwa, the Commissioner of Reproductive and Child Health, who was representing the Minster of Health, says Uganda Heart Institute can now treat 95% and 85% of heart diseases in adults and children, respectively.
“The Uganda Heart Institute is the only facility offering Open Heart Surgery in Uganda with a population of 40 million people. Unfortunately, the burden of non-communicable diseases, especially cardiovascular disease is rapidly increasing in Uganda,” she added.
Nsugwa explains that cardiovascular services are to improve in different parts of Uganda after parliament approves a 70 million dollar loan to cater for the construction of the Uganda heart institute infrastructure at Naguru.
The World Heart Day 2022 is to be commemorated under the theme “𝐔𝐬𝐞 𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐅𝐨𝐫 𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭”.
According to UHI, cardiovascular disease causes 17.3 million premature deaths every year, a fatigue that is expected to rise to 23 million by 2030.