3.5 million Malaysians diabetic, an alarming situation — Hilmi


KUALA LUMPUR: The diabetes situation in Malaysia is worrying as about 3.5 million or 17.5 per cent of its citizens aged 18 years and above are having the disease.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya said from the number, based on the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015, more than half or 9.2 per cent were unaware that they were diabetic.

“In 2011, there were 15.2 per cent diabetic patients compared with 11.6 per cent in 2006…showing an increase in the number of cases each year,” he said at a press conference after officiating at the National-Level World Health Day celebration, here, yesterday.

At the event, Dr Hilmi also launched the 5th Edition of the Clinical Practice Guideline Management of Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus. He said the large number of diabetic patients was due to the unhealthy lifestyle, with people lazy to engage in fitness activities and not eating a healthy, balanced diet.

In view of the situation, he advised the public to undergo early health screening each year such as on blood pressure and cholesterol level for the disease prevention. Dr Hilmi said for each diabetic patient, the government had to spend an estimated cost of RM2,684.24 on treatment each year, while a patient with kidney failure had to spend RM1,400 to RM3,200 each month on haemodialysis.

“This is a big amount and the government is not only burdened by the high cost in healthcare but also by the patients’ loss of work productivity,” he added.

Malaysian Endocrine and Metabolic Society (MEMS) president, Prof Dr Nor Azmi Kamaruddin said the clinical practice guideline which introduced the use of the A1c blood test could more easily and effectively diagnose diabetes.

“Previously, individuals wanting to know whether they had diabetes would have to take a blood test after fasting for eight hours or undergo the test by having to drink glucose. — Bernama