PETALING JAYA: Most people who died of Covid-19 in Malaysia suffered from diabetes and hypertension, the Ministry of Health says.
As of October 28, 37.3% of Covid-19 deaths had a background of diabetes, which is about four out of 10 deaths.
It was a small drop from 2020, when 38.8% of deaths involved diabetes, said the deputy director of the ministry’s disease control department (non-infectious diseases department) Dr Feisul Idzwan Mustapha.
“Globally, we know that people living with non-infectious diseases (NCDs) have a higher risk of more serious infections and deaths from Covid-19.
“This is especially more so for people living with diabetes, especially if their condition is poorly controlled,” he said in an interview with Sunday Star.
Dr. Feisul added that when a diabetic patient was infected with Covid-19, there were perhaps more severe effects including inflammation.
It has been reported that nearly one in five adults or about 3.9 million individuals live with diabetes in the country.
Health Director General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said it is worrying that about half of them are not aware that they have this disease.
In line with today’s World Diabetes Day, Malaysia’s vice president of Diabetes Jong Koi Chong urged the public to be regularly examined and recognized for the dangers of diabetes.
“The prevalence of diabetes among younger individuals between 18 and 40 years of age has doubled over the last 15 years.
“The growing number of diabetics means a heavier burden of the disease and its complications: heart disease, stroke, blindness, chronic kidney disease and amputation of lower limbs, among others,” he said.
Dr Koh Kar Chai, president of Malaysian Medical Association, said there is an increase in diabetes in the younger age groups, mainly due to childhood obesity.
“Being a nation known for having a significantly high level of obesity, Malaysians should be examined more frequently, as during annual health checks.
“In general, adults are usually examined, but we should also adopt the practice of examining young obese children,” he added.
In terms of hypertension, it is one of the leading NCDs in Malaysia, affecting three out of 10 adults in the country.
This is about 6.4 million people, according to the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey.