Health problems: Nermala with her hospital appointment card and the amount of medicine she needs to take at her home in Paya Terubong in Air Itam.
GEORGE TOWN: Being diagnosed with diabetes has hit T. Nermala hard when she was told that the big toe on her left feet had to be amputated.
This proved to be the end of many things she took for granted after she underwent the procedure in June.
The 58-year-old housewife, who used to work as a coconut water seller, said it hurts whenever she walks and now spends most of her time at home.
“My husband had to work as a gardener after I closed my business which he found difficult to manage on his own.
“I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2012 following a check-up. Now, I have to give myself insulin shots daily,” she said.
She has to take other medications as well as she is a stroke patient.
Nermala said that she is fortunate because she gets her medication every month for free from the Penang Hospital.
She is among the estimated 3.5 million diabetics in Malaysia, the highest among Asean countries.
Consumers Association of Penang president S. M. Mohamed Idris lamented that diabetes patients have increased drastically over the years.
“Diabetes prevalence in Malaysia has skyrocketed to 17.5% this year compared to about 2% in 1960.
“Obesity is a major contributing factor to diabetes. So, the high number of diabetics in the country is not surprising as Malaysia is the most obese country in Asia with an overweight and obesity rate of more than 45.3%,” he told a press conference yesterday.
Mohamed Idris added that the number will increase due to the unhealthy lifestyle of Malaysians.
He quoted the findings from The Lancet, a British medical journal, which stated that 49% of women and 44% of men in this country were overweight.
Failing in exams due to diabetes