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Diabetes in Malaysia – A Deeper Look as Concern Rises

In this chapter of our “Diabetes in Asia” series (as a sequel to Diabetes in Singapore), we will be talking about Malaysia. In 10 years, diabetes in Malaysia has increased to 17.5%, and it is the country with the highest prevalence of diabetes. Even more alarming is that more than half of the affected are not aware of their condition. Also, Malaysia will become the country with the highest number of kidney failures by 2030 in the ASEAN region. 

Diabetes in Malaysia

Leading the sugar charts at the 8th position, Malaysians consume 26 teaspoons of sugar daily. That is almost 5 times more than the ideal intake limit set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). One contributor could be because Malaysians have been enjoying too many sugary drinks.

Perhaps that could be one reason that the 2015 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) showed 47.7% of Malaysians were either overweight or obese. Likewise, The Lancet has revealed that Malaysia is the fattest country in Asia. With such figures, it is no surprise that diabetes in Malaysia has become common.

Also, pre-diabetics that make up 15.7% of the Malaysian population. These people have impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. There is a high chance that the condition will worsen into diabetes, if not managed well.

A Rising Killer and Financial Burden

Almost 25% of the total deaths in 2015 for Malaysia was related to diabetes.

We have picked out 4 of the most common related complications and summarised it.

Diabetes in Malaysia - Complications

Diabetes costs account for 16% of the national healthcare budget in Malaysia; in 2010 this amounted to RM 2.4 billion. Usually, up to 73% of it are costs caused by poor glucose management.

What Can We Do?

Luckily, there is still hope. Small changes can have a big impact. We can lower the risk of diabetes by picking up healthier diets and exercise habits.

For example, we can replace white rice with brown rice. We can also exercise more often.

Additionally, the Malaysian government has various campaigns aimed to encourage Malaysians to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Also worth exploring, GlycoLeap is an effective weight and chronic condition management app that helps users better manage diabetes or pre-diabetes or those looking to prevent it. All done with the help of health experts like qualified dietitians. These experts guide users through small changes over time,  to lose weight, and/or lower blood glucose as well as lead healthier lifestyles.

Click here for an infographic by Natalie Phang, to sum up all the information that we have covered!

Diabetes affects everyone around the patient. Let’s do our part in creating a healthier community, by sharing this post with your friends and family!