Monday, November 14, 2011
Double-diabetic shocker With 1.5 million to three million sufferers in five years, Malaysia can become top 10 diabetes-hit nation, says minister
There were 1.5 million diabetics in Malaysia in 2006.
That number has since doubled.
As of last month, more than three million people are suffering from diabetes.
If that’s not alarming enough, two million more are suspected to be suffering from the disease but are unaccounted for.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin said the ministry is concerned with the increase and urged Malaysians to look after themselves.
“The increase is very drastic. The number of diabetics has now doubled within a span of less than five years!
“At the rate we are going, we could easily be in the world’s top 10 list for the highest number of diabetics,” she told The Malay Mail recently.
The minister said 1.5 million diabetics were recorded under the nationwide Second National Health and Morbidity Survey between 1996 and 2006.
“Since then, up to October, there are already over three million sufferers. Additionally, there are at least two million more whom we believe are diabetics.
“Under the survey, free tests were conducted via door-to-door. The two million estimated excess are those who declined to take the test or were not at home.”
Rosnah reminded Malaysians diabetes is a silent killer.
“One will never know he or she is suffering from the disease. Only after seven to 10 years suffering from it that the individual will experience complications.
“If left untreated, it can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart pains and erectile dysfunction. In some cases, patients will suffer gangrene, amputation and septicemia (presence of bacteria in the blood).”
Besides taking medication or using insulin, she advised diabetics to observe proper eating habits and engage in physical activity or exercise for at least 30 minutes daily.
She urged even those as young as 20 to go for annual screening tests to check their condition, especially for those above 20. This basic test encompasses blood pressure, sugar levels and cholesterol in the blood, Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference.
Rosnah said besides diabetes, data compiled from other noncommunicable diseases (NCD) are not satisfactory.
“Two out of five patients have optimum blood pressure readings. One out of four have good cholesterol level and only one out of six people possess ideal BMI level.”
The minister hoped Malaysians are aware about the risk factor of diabetes.
“There are six factors that contribute to a person suffering with diabetes. Firstly, an individual has a history of his or her family members suffering from diabetes. They could be overweight and suffering from hypertension. They have a high cholesterol level and lead a sedentary lifestyle. Finally, women who have a history of diabetes during pregnancy, which is also called gestational diabetes.
“If you have any of the above six factors, most likely you could be suffering from diabetes. It is advisable to get yourself checked.”
Meanwhile, the nation’s smallest State, Perlis, has a high number of people losing their legs to diabetes, its Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Dr Md Isa Sabu, said yesterday.
He said from 2007 till last year, between 60 and 100 diabetes patients there underwent leg amputations annually.
Perlis has 13,714 patients registered at government clinics alone, said Md Isa when opening the State-level World Diabetes Day at Kampung Nesam near Kangar..