3 May 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: The number of diabetics in the country has increased by almost 80 percent in the last 10 years from 1996-2006 to 1.4 million adults above the age of 30.

Director-General of Health Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said what was alarming was that almost 36 percent of them were undiagnosed, resulting in complications later that required more intensive medical care, putting great strain on the existing overstretched health services.

In his monthly column in the latest Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) newsletter, he said lifestyle-related changes were the main factors influencing the increase of diabetes in the country.

He said lifestyle modifications like weight loss, changes in diet and increased physical activity would greatly help in controlling the disease.

Dr Ismail said obesity was another trend in Malaysia, since the National Health and Morbidity Survey in 2006, showed that the number of obese had also increased by almost 200 percent over a 10-year period from 1996.

“This is a worrying trend, as obesity remains the foundation for the development of diabetes, particularly in our population,” he said.

He said the ministry had recently launched the “Clinical Practice Guidelines: Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus & Acute” for health care providers.

He added that the Health Ministry’s initiatives to improve the management and control of diabetes in patients include introducing blood glucose (HbA1c) testing and the use of diabetes card for continuous monitoring.

Initiatives to screen for diabetic complications include providing micro albumin testing kits at hospitals and health centres.

Dr Ismail said the government had allocated RM7mil last year for management of diabetes and hypertension in hospitals that would be utilised to buy new drugs and testing kits. – Bernama

This article was published in www.thestar.com.my on 11 January 2010.