Half Of Diabetic Patients Unaware Of Their Condition

Health DG Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says diabetic patients have a higher risk of developing Covid-19 complications if they contract the virus.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 — About 18.3 per cent or 3.9 million of Malaysia’s adult population above the age of 18 have diabetes, half of which are unaware of their condition, according to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, citing the survey, said this will put diabetic patients at a higher risk of developing Covid-19 complications if they contract the coronavirus, which could result in death.

“The MOH is focused on controlling and preventing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that can be done through advocacy activities, health education, early disease screening, wellness services, and complication screening to make sure that everyone in society, irrespective of rank, age and race has access to health services,” Dr Noor Hisham said in his address at the national World Diabetes Day national celebration, held virtually today.

Dr Noor Hisham said 30.7 per cent of diabetic patients who were being treated at MOH clinics in 2020 were able to hit an optimum haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level of ≤6.5 per cent, an increase from 27.64 per cent in 2019.

The HbA1c test tells a person’s average level of blood sugar over the past two to three months. The normal range for HbA1c in people without diabetes is between 4 and 5.9 per cent. Individuals with diabetes with poor glucose control typically have HbA1c levels above 7 per cent.

According to the National Diabetes Registry Report 2020, there are 1,698,683 patients enrolled in the registry and 902,991 active diabetes patients at the end of the reporting year of 2020, of which 99.33 per cent were diagnosed with type two diabetes mellitus.

The majority of type two diabetes mellitus patients were between 55-59 years old (16.59 per cent) and the mean age at diagnosis was 53 years old. The majority of patients were female (57.02 per cent) and of Malay ethnicity (59.35 per cent).

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