Barristers & Solicitors
‘How Lawyers Can Avoid Sudden Death’

Lawyers by the nature of their profession are prone to stress and sleeplessness, and must undergo regular checks to avoid sudden death, according to a medical expert, Prof Kamar Adeleke.

Adeleke, who is President/Chief Executive Officer of Tristate Healthcare Systems Ltd, spoke at the annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Lagos.

Tristate Healthcare Services partnered with the NBA to provide screening and medical treatment for lawyers at the conference.

Adeleke said sudden death was a major problem in Nigeria, adding that its leading causes include diseases of the cardiovascular (heart) system.

“It is estimated that more than seven million lives per year are lost to sudden cardiac death (SCD)  worldwide, including over 300,000 in the United States,” he said

Quoting the World Health Organisation, he said one out of every five Nigerian adults over the age of 30 will likely die prematurely from non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular diseases.

Cardiovascular diseases, he said, include coronary artery disease, which constitutes 80 per cent of cause of sudden cardiac death; cardiomyopathies (heart muscle disease) and cardiac rhythm disorder.

Risk factors for sudden death, he said, are older age, male sex, post-menopausal state, cigarette smoking, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol, obesity and family history.

On how to prevent sudden death, he said it involves identification of individuals at risk, treatment of underlying predisposing condition, lifestyle modification (healthy diet, exercise, weight loss and smoking cessation) and implantation of the automated implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (AICD).

AICD is a small electronic device implanted in the chest, just beneath the skin below the collar bone.

Its main function is to prevent sudden death from cardiac arrest due to life threatening abnormally fast heart rhythms.

Tristate Healthcare Systems Vice-President/Chief Operating Officer, Dr Olukunle Iyanda, said the company did full screening of lawyers at the even, which was the first time it would happen at any NBA conference.

The tests, he said, included urinalysis, cholesterol testing, prostrate cancer screening, glucose level checks and body mass index examinations to determine obesity.

“The tests are to prevent issues of sudden death, high blood pressure for those who have it but don’t know – people who think it’s only when they’re fat that their obese; all of which contribute to heart diseases.

“Our strength is cardiovascular diseases treatment. We have done about 150 open heart surgeries and a lot of other cardiac interventions. We discovered that prevention is better than cure.”

He said a full cardiac evaluation was also done for lawyers, which involves heart ultrasound.

“We also provided emergency services and respiratory care, which has to do with issues of sleep disorder,” he said.

Iyanda urged lawyers, who he said are prone to depression and sleeplessness, to always “know their numbers”.

“When we say ‘know their numbers’, we’re talking about knowing their cholesterol level, their glucose level, their heart rate. The frequency of the tests depends on the age.

“If you’re above 50, you have to undergo such tests at least once every six months. If you’re in your 40s you may do it once a year. It also depends on what the numbers say,” he said.

He said 56 staff of Tristate Healthcare was deployed to the conference.

“It’s like a value-added service to the NBA,” he said.

By: Joseph Jibueze

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