An Abuja-based cardiologist, Dr Onye Achilihu, on Thursday urged medical doctors to educate patients on the importance of complying with the dosage of prescribed drugs.
Achilihu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the call became necessary in order to prevent cases of relapse in the treatment of cases.
He said hypertensive patients especially needed to be educated on the nature of the condition and what they needed to do to prevent possible heart attack or stroke.
“One, you have to make appropriate diagnosis, appropriate screening to actually identify patients who have this disease called hypertension and provide as much information to patients and their relatives and let them know that if they do have hypertension, their treatment may be lifelong.
“Tell them what they are taking in simple terms, what can happen to those drugs when they don’t take them, tell them they also have to engage in lifestyle modification, tell them the importance of adherence to a therapy to be compliant and what can happen if they don’t.
“Often times it is the physicians themselves or healthcare providers who are responsible for default because they do not provide patients with information.
“They write prescription, two weeks the patients takes the medicine and think the thing is cured, the next time you see them they have had a stroke or heart attack
“So it’s being able to educate patients on the need for compliance with medical regimen.“
He spoke of the need for effective communication among healthcare practitioners as regards patients as that could help prevent the deterioration of patients’ health.
“There is no cross-talk between healthcare providers and that is very hurtful.
“For example, it is wrong to remove the labels on the containers of the drugs you are giving patients.
“The patient doesn’t know what he is taking; he goes to another doctor and the doctor gives the same medicine not knowing what the other doctor has given.
“There has to be a genuine effort to raise awareness of what can happen to hypertensive patients because there are consequences to what can result from hypertensive patients.
“It can affect your eyes, your heart, your brain, your kidneys and so forth.“
Achilihu advised patients with hypertension, liver disease or patients who bled in the stomach to avoid alcohol intake
The doctor, however, recommended moderate intake of alcohol for healthy people, saying: “It is good for the heart.
“When we say moderate intake that can be adjusted depending on the individual.
“Generally, we say two glasses of wine a day for a man, and a glass a day for a woman; it does not matter if it is beer, red wine or white wine or spirit.“ (NAN)