Cardiac Community, a non-governmental organisation committed to fighting cardiovascular diseases in Nigeria organised the second edition of Walk4PH to commemorate World Pulmonary Hypertension Day. The walk organised annually helps shine a light on the disease, as well as raise funds to support people living with the disease in Nigeria.
The second edition was a virtual walkathon that took place from the 22nd to the 29th of May 2021. Participants walked from different location across the world in solidarity and support to the cause. There was also a group walk in Lagos with the Cardiac Community team which held on Saturday 22nd of May 2021.
The group walk started from Ndubuisi Kanu Park in Alausa and ended at Ikeja under-bridge round about. Bicycle riders from the Lagos Cyclers Club also participated in the walk helping to shine a light on PH.
The co-founder Cardiac Community and convener of Walk4ph, Ayotunde Omitogun was diagnosed with pulmonary Hypertension 8 years ago. She discussed the importance of raising awareness on this rare illness that affects the lungs and heart.
According to her,
“Pulmonary hypertension is a deadly and complex disease, it shouldn’t be in the dark, awareness is key. PH is a highly progressive disease and without the right treatment, it can result in heart failure and death but due to the obscurity surrounding the disease, PH is mostly misdiagnosed or diagnosed at the advanced stage since it mimics symptoms of other respiratory diseases such as asthma and tuberculosis. PH is complex and can be associated with other diseases which include congenital heart defect, HIV infection, left heart disease and sickle cell disease.
Unfortunately, Pulmonary Hypertension has no known cure, but it can be managed with treatments to improve symptoms and improve the quality of life of people living with the conditions. The major challenge is that many of the medications are very expensive and not available in Nigeria. One of the drugs available and approved for the treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension, Sildenafil, is shrouded in stigma due to its use in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Our goal is to fundraise to support patients who can’t afford or have difficulty getting this medication in Nigeria”
Walk4PH is a walk-a-thon aimed at raising awareness of Pulmonary Hypertension; a chronic illness associated with high blood pressure in the lungs and completely different from the normal hypertension (systemic hypertension). Pulmonary hypertension causes the heart to overwork and this can eventually lead to heart failure. This disease has no known cure and it is usually confused and misdiagnosed for asthma and other heart and lung diseases. This disease is though rare but exists in Nigeria, pulmonary Hypertension is still in the dark and unknown in Nigeria.
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