|Late Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha (M) first civilian Governor of Bayelsa State with successor, Chief Seriake Dickson (L) and Chief Kayode Amusan a former Ogun State gubernatorial aspirant|
In scientific parlance, sections like this are expected to be full of hard data, such as statistics of incidence of stroke, heart attack and associated mortality, nationally and for the different segments of the population. While admittedly reliable statistics of that nature are not so readily available in this country, perhaps to most of the readers of this work, mere figures and statistics cannot sufficiently convey the reality and seriousness of the problem of stroke and heart attack among Nigerians. The recall of individual victims that we knew or have heard about would probably make this point clearer. On my part, I can immediately recall countless number of people who have recently fallen victim to these two notable vicious killers in Nigeria today (Ex-Bayelsa StateGovernor, Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha is one big casualty who died recently)
In addition to the Apostle and the ex-civil servant from my clan who recently died from stroke and heart attack respectively, my best friend, who together as youths we struggled up the academic ladder, is currently maimed by severe hypertension.
|Late Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha, first Civilian Governor of Bayelsa State (South-South Nigeria) died of Heart Attack|
|Mr. Oluwabunmi Adedayo son of Tasty Fried Chicken founder died of Heart related disease years ago|
The death and disabilities of these close friends and associates of mine have been particularly painful to me because they were easily preventable, even under the current level of health and medical condition in Nigeria. I can personally recall a large number of other individuals who I knew very well and who have died or who have been maimed in similar circumstances in recent years. They were in every sector of the economy, including medical doctors, lawyers, politicians, business people and even otherwise ordinary folks who in many cases became affluent.
|Late Mr. Kunle Onigbanjo husband to famous couture expert, MAUFECHI died of Heart related disease in America couple of years back|
“Often, a litany of the bad things that big men do which are claimed to be responsible for the deaths follow the comments about such sudden deaths, such as taking bribes, taking other people’s women or making bad medicines to hurt each other (Juju)”
As a reader, you will certainly recall many individuals of the caliber we are discussing, who recently died suddenly or have been maimed by confirmed or suspected stroke or heart attack. Some may be relatives, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, or they had similar relationship with people you know. Or they were so popular that even though you did not know them in life, you could not miss their death. Sudden death among Nigerians is approaching the level of an endemic. The suddenness of the death of the victims tends to fuel the news and rumors. It is not uncommon to over hear some Nigerians making familiar comments like; “These big men die like chicken these days because of the bad things they do” or that “They died from big man disease”.
|Billionaire Mike Adenuga (M) Big and Affluent like any Rich Nigerian. With him are Mrs. Irabor (L) Sir Shina Peters and Mrs. Ahmadu Ali|
They are right about the later because the factors primarily associated with stroke and heart attacks are strongly linked to affluence. Often, a litany of the bad things that big men do which are claimed to be responsible for the deaths follow the comments about such sudden deaths, such as taking bribes, taking other people’s women or making bad medicines to hurt each other (Juju)
You may be sure in your mind that you do not engage in whatever “bad things” the commentators may be talking about, but since the victims have been close to you or have been like you in many ways, you invariably experience a nagging fear of insecurity, the anxiety that it could be you next time. You probably have very good reasons to be worried because any of us could be equally at risk of the so-called “big man disease” and it can be the turn of any one of us to die suddenly any day. It may not be for the reasons that the gossipers/commentators usually adduce. So, like many other affluent Nigerians, you have good reasons to be worried about this “big man disease”, about which most people know or appear to know very little about.
So, what is Big Man’s Disease?
|Late DSP Alamieyeseigha, former Bayelsa State Governor, died of Heart Attack|
What exactly are these “Big man diseases” that kill or main so suddenly? What chances does anyone have against them?
The so-called big man diseases are high blood pressure (Also known as Hypertension), stroke and heart attack. High blood pressure and stroke can affect any one, big man or not. As will be observed later in the discussion of the causes of hypertension, the normal process of aging and the worries of everyday living are important factors associated with the development of hypertension. Age and the stress of everyday life therefore predispose both the rich and the poor to high blood pressure and probably stroke. Living the “Nigerian Good Life” in some ways imposes additional risk for those who are naturally at risk of developing high blood pressure as well as those who are otherwise not at risk. The case of heart attack is virtually the same as for stroke.
|Late Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha (M) with Present Governor, Seriake Dickson with Chief Kayode Amusan (R)|
Though stroke and heart attack may not cause as many deaths and disabilities as road traffic accidents for which Nigerian holds the dubious distinction of being number one worldwide, the psychological impact of these diseases far exceeds that of road traffic accidents and other conditions that kill a lot more Nigerians. It is possible that the mishap of a stroke or heart attack and associated complications may spread more widely, especially when they affect an affluent or a popular person; this is probably because these diseases are currently surrounded by many unknowns in the society. Fortunately, unlike road traffic accidents, the condition that results in the occurrence of high blood pressure, stroke and heart attacks are more within the control of the individual, once the person understands what is involved and knows what to do. Awareness at individual and national levels is therefore the first step in addressing these problems. The purpose of this book therefore is to start that process of awareness. The first step is to briefly examine the nature of these diseases that now cause so much fear and feeling of insecurity among Nigerians.
|Mr. Oluwabunmi Adedayo, a budding entrepreneur and son of founder of Tasty Fried Chicken died of Heart Attack as a result of obesity|
(From the Book; “Early and Sudden Death; the Price of Affluence among Nigerians”. Read “How to develop HBP, Stroke & Heart Attack” in our next post on Asabeafrika)