KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — Seven in 10 people who succumbed to Covid-19 in Malaysia suffered from diabetes, according to the Institute for Clinical Research (ICR), a research institute under the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The Ministry of Health’s (MOH) National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019 released earlier this year found that the prevalence rate of diabetes in Malaysian adults increased from 13.4 per cent in 2015 to 18.3 per cent last year. An estimated 3.9 million adults in Malaysia aged 18 and above had diabetes as of 2019.
The NHMS also found that about 8.1 per cent of the adult population in Malaysia, or 1.7 million people, have all three risk factors for diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, the main non-communicable diseases.
According to ICR, which looked at 157 Covid-19 deaths among 15,567 infections officially reported in Malaysia as of October 11, some 64.9 per cent of coronavirus victims suffered from high blood pressure, while 19 per cent had high cholesterol.
Almost a quarter, or 23.4 per cent of Covid-19 victims, suffered from heart disease. A total of 16.2 per cent had kidney disease, followed by coronavirus fatalities with lung disease (8.4 per cent), cancer (5.2 per cent), and liver disease (1.9 per cent).
More than 80 per cent of Covid-19 deaths in Malaysia reportedly had at least one underlying medical condition, said ICR.
STAT reported scientists as saying that comorbidities like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and other cardiovascular diseases appeared to heighten the risk of poor outcomes from Covid-19. They noted that the organ systems targeted by the coronavirus were the same organ systems that are compromised in people with diabetes.
According to STAT, people with diabetes tend to be living with a chronic inflammatory state that could lead to a stronger inflammatory response to Covid-19, or an immune overreaction that may cause organ damage. Diabetes can also weaken the immune system, while those with type 2 diabetes have more ACE2 receptors in many tissues, opening up to Covid-19 invasion as ACE2 is one receptor used by the coronavirus to enter cells.
ICR also found that significantly more men in Malaysia succumbed to Covid-19 at 72 per cent, compared to women at 28 per cent.
More than 65 per cent of Malaysia’s coronavirus deaths were aged 60 years and above.
Those aged 60 to 69 years formed the largest age group among Malaysia’s Covid-19 fatalities at 30.6 per cent, followed by people aged 70 to 79 years at 21 per cent, and those aged 50 to 59 years at 19.1 per cent.
Adults aged 80 years and above comprised 14 per cent of coronavirus deaths in Malaysia.
Fewer Covid-19 fatalities were reported in younger people: 7 per cent of adults aged 40 to 49, followed by 5.7 per cent of those aged 30 to 39, and 2.5 per cent of people aged below 30.
Malaysia’s case fatality rate for Covid-19 is just 1 per cent, which means that one person out of every 100 people infected with the virus may die.