Avoid hypertensive spouse watching finals on Sunday

Dr. Ranti Familoni, a Medicine and Cardiology expert from Olabisi Onabanjo University, delves into the alarming phenomenon of individuals collapsing during sporting events and social gatherings, often resulting in sudden death, in a discussion with TEMITOPE ADETUNJI.

Recently, tragic incidents occurred during the Nigeria vs. South Africa football match, where an All Progressives Congress chieftain, Cairo Ojougboh, alongside a serving National Youth Service Corps member and three others, collapsed and passed away. Dr. Familoni, could you shed light on the medical factors behind such distressing occurrences?

Dr. Familoni explains that these incidents typically fall under the category of sudden cardiac death (SCD). SCD primarily affects individuals with underlying heart conditions, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed.

Could you elaborate on how these underlying heart conditions may contribute to sudden collapse during activities like sports or moments of excitement?

Dr. Familoni breaks down the cases into two main groups: the young, exemplified by the NYSC member, and the elderly, represented by the politician. In the young demographic, congenital factors or hereditary genetic disorders such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are often at play. These conditions can be triggered by physical exertion, including sports or moments of heightened excitement. In contrast, elderly individuals may experience sudden collapse due to conditions like hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol.

For individuals with these underlying issues, engaging in physical activity or experiencing excitement can stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, leading to increased heart rate or irregular rhythms like ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation, culminating in sudden death. Additionally, blockage of coronary arteries causing a heart attack or rupture of blood vessels leading to a stroke are potential risks.

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