Vincent Okemwa clutches at his bloodied handkerchief. He coughs and his whole body shakes uncontrollably. At 20 years Okemwa only weighs 34kgs.
Visits to various hospitals and clinics proved futile to him. He was first misdiagnosed with Tuberculosis and put on a regimen but he kept coughing blood and losing weight.
College dreams had to be put on hold, he couldn’t do the simplest of tasks, always fatigued and breathless. A visit to the national hospital brought great relief when he eventually consulted a cardiologist and got a proper diagnosis. The valves in his heart were severely damaged and he needed urgent open-heart surgery to replace the damaged valves with mechanical ones.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world. These are diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels. There are two types of heart diseases; congenital and acquired.
Rheumatic Heart Disease tops the list of the most common type of acquired heart disease in young people. If left untreated rheumatic heart disease often leads to damages on heart valves among other health complications. It takes time to manifest itself and starts as rheumatic fever. Streptococcus bacteria cause rheumatic fever with symptoms such as sore throat, fever and fatigue. Many of us are quick to self-medicate or consult Dr. Google whenever we have sore throats. At least 3 out of five people you ask will advise on concoctions that can be easily be made to sooth sore throats and colds.
It is advisable to always visit a doctor when one has a sore throat. Avoid sharing of utensils and practice proper hand washing with running water and soap to prevent transmission from one person to another.
Prevention is better than cure is not only an adage but given the present economic times and the exorbitant cost of healthcare; it might only save a life but a coin or two.