BusinessDay

Be careful where you get medical advice from

The door to the private room opened and Mrs Askira tiptoed inside to avoid waking her husband up. He had just come out of a coma and was beginning to respond to sounds. It was a pure miracle that they didn’t lose him, God had sent timely help to them or else the story would have been different. Her own enthusiasm rooted in ignorance was the main cause of this and she would never have forgiven herself if her husband had died.

Mark Askira was a business development expert that worked with multinational companies and his job often involved travelling to different countries with very little sleep or rest. His average nightly sleep time was 4 hours on a very good night, and many nights were not good. His job came with a lot of pressure and it was not surprising that soon, his blood pressure was raging uncontrollably. It didn’t help that his diet was mostly fast food on the go, heavily supplemented with energy drinks.

He loved his job, he loved that adrenaline rush that came with closing deals, he loved the travelling and the opportunity to visit different countries, he loved all of it. His blood pressure wasn’t just cooperating with him. He had regular appointments at the clinic but all the lifestyle adjustments he’d been asked to make were simply not feasible.

One day his wife Amina came home and excitedly showed him several brightly coloured packets containing supplements. “Sweetheart, the best thing happened today. The solution to all your health challenges is finally here. This company came to the office today to market these supplements. They said they will cure your blood pressure completely and you can go off your anti-hypertensive medication. They also brought this one that is good for stress relief and can help you sleep well.”

His wife had always looked out for him and he trusted her completely. He was won over by her enthusiasm and the fact that he would stop taking his blood pressure meds completely. Amina told her husband how the supplements were to be taken and he commenced immediately, packing them with him for his next international trip which was due in 2 days. When he thought about how he would be free from his doctor’s wahala, he laughed out loud. Now everybody could finally rest.

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Five days after Mark travelled, Amina was called to come to the company clinic urgently. When she got there, she was taken to the room where Mark was, unconscious. He had slumped while abroad and was stabilized and brought back to Nigeria in an air ambulance, remaining in a coma for a couple of days. It was the most painful sight of her entire life, moreso, because she had introduced him to this new “treatment.”

Mark remained in the hospital for another two weeks and on the day of his discharge, Amina was present while the Consultant Physician spoke with him. “Mark, this was a really narrow escape for you. You are one of the few people I know who has survived this type of incident with no deficits at all. I just want to know why you thought that going off your anti-hypertensive medication was a good idea.”

“Hmmm, Doctor”, Mark started while Amina looked down. Mark noticed her countenance and put his arms around her shoulders. He knew how she was still beating herself up over what had just happened. “Doctor, someone introduced these supplements to me some weeks ago with the promise that they would cure my hypertension completely. I also considered them because I thought they would be a faster way of regaining my health back without any lifestyle changes. I should have at least showed you before commencing but I was just excited.”

“Mark, you should know that many of the people selling these supplements have no medical qualification. It is a purely commercial venture for them and they are driven by the profit they make. You need to be careful where you get medical advice from and please stick to expert advice.” The Askiras thanked him and as they left his office and continued to thank God for a narrow escape.

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