No. 1 killer disease in Malaysia explained

Heart disease has been the main cause of deaths in Malaysia for the past two decades. (Rawpixel pic)

PETALING JAYA: Health awareness among Malaysians is considered low with one in every two people being obese and overweight while one in four does not engage in any form of physical activity and only one in 20 maintains healthy eating habits.

According to health minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Malaysia is considered an unhealthy country as the number of people suffering from heart disease is high.

In fact, Khairy said Malaysia emerged as among the countries that are tops in terms of heart disease.

He also said that heart disease was among the leading causes of Covid-19 deaths in the country apart from other kinds of comorbidities or chronic diseases.

FMT took a closer look at the disease, what causes it and how many Malaysians suffer from it.

Principal cause of death for 20 years

According to the department of statistics Malaysia (DOSM), heart disease has been the principal cause of death in Malaysia for the past two decades.

Chief statistician Mohd Uzir Mahidin said heart disease remains the principal cause of death in Malaysia, increasing from 11.6% of all medically certified deaths in 2000 to 17% in 2020.

Heart disease also remains the principal cause of death for all major ethnic groups – 16.6% for Bumiputeras, followed by 16% Chinese and 22.8% Indians.

What about other countries?

Ischemic heart disease is the main disease in several Asean countries, including Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.

Uzir noted that a similar trend was also observed in developed countries such as the US, Japan, the UK and Australia.

What is heart disease?

Ischaemic heart disease refers to the narrowing or blocked arteries that supply blood flow to the heart. (Rawpixel pic)

Ischaemic heart disease refers to the narrowing or blocked arteries (coronary arteries) that supply blood flow to the heart.

Former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said ischaemic heart disease is mostly due to atherosclerosis (deposition of cholesterol plaques) in the wall of the coronary arteries which clogged up the flow.

It may cause angina (chest pain), heart attack, heart failure or sudden death.

What causes heart disease?

Lee explained that heart disease is a non-communicable disease that is prevalent among older groups and men. The disease could also be hereditary.

According to the department of statistics, heart disease is the main cause of death for those aged between 41 and 59 (20%) and also 60 years and above (18%).

There were 18,515 deaths due to ischaemic heart disease last year – 12,707 (68.6%) for males, and 5,808 (31.4%) for females.

That aside, Lee said people with sedentary lifestyles are prone to develop this disease.

“This includes those who have unhealthy eating habits, are obese, smoke, have diabetes and hypertension.”

Treatment for heart disease

The good news is that ischaemic heart disease is treatable with medication, angioplasty and bypass surgery.

However, he said those who suffer from this disease must change their lifestyle. This includes quitting smoking and eating healthy.

Source : https://whttps://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/leisure/2021/11/23/no-1-killer-disease-in-malaysia-explained/