ENSURING her family is healthy is 55-year-old Lydia Hew’s main priority.
All of them go for health checks once a year, and spend a day every weekend exercising in Bukit Jalil.
Though her family is healthy, she said they were careful about their diet.
Hew was one of many shoppers at Sunway Pyramid who made full use of the free medical checks provided by Sunway Medical Centre (SunMed) recently in conjunction with World Diabetes Day.
Apart from health checks, shoppers were entertained through various games with attractive prizes.
This marks the centre’s fourth event as part of its five-year focus on creating diabetes awareness.
The celebration, themed Eliminate Diabetes, was launched by Selangor state health director Dr Balachandran Satiamurti.
The celebration was also part of the “Let’s Take 5” campaign launched in 2012, which focuses on one of the five organs affected by diabetes complications – brain, eyes, heart, kidneys and foot – in conjunction with World Diabetes Day each year.
This year’s celebration focused on diabetes-related kidney failure and the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) of Malaysia coming in as a partner.
SunMed is spreading awareness on the prevention and management of diabetes and its complications, including sharing information on the warning signs of diabetes, encouraging early diagnosis and promoting a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risks for Type 2 diabetes.
SunMed acting chief executive officer Choo Voon Chee said there were still many undiagnosed diabetics in Malaysia.
“With the number of diabetics set to rise, we need to improve the diagnosis and management of diabetes, plus encourage preventive measures,” he said.
Patients with related complications such as kidney failure have also increased.
He said educating people on diabetes complications was one way of pushing them to learn more about the disease.
In Malaysia, the International Diabetes Federation estimates that 3.2 million people live with diabetes and about 50% of them remain undiagnosed, with the number of diabetics expected to rise by another 50% by 2035.
Many diabetics end up with kidney failure, with statistics showing that approximately 60% of kidney failure patients in Malaysia were diabetic – one of the highest ratios in the world.
Over 5,000 new kidney failure cases are diagnosed every year.
Dr Balachandran said it was important to get people to take diabetes seriously and make lifestyle changes as there was an increasing trend of diabetes and obesity among Malaysians.
The SunMed Eliminate Diabetes campaign also includes activities taking place until January next year, such as the Fit2Climb Challenge, a diabetics-focused extension of the existing LEAN Club programme.
The holistic programme aims to address obesity in adults and children through healthy eating and lifestyle interventions. The challenge will culminate with a trek up Broga Hill in January.
Ongoing is the 30 Days to Happy Kidneys campaign.
The campaign aims to encourage kidney-healthy practices by providing a 30-day calendar of different activities, spreading the word on kidney health through an Instagram contest and raising funds for NKF by making the calendar-cum-pledge card available with a minimum RM11 donation.
SunMed is also matching the total amount donated by the public to be given to NKF.
NKF chief executive officer Chua Hong Wee said almost 60% of its patients were hardcore poor with a household disposable income of less than RM800 per month.
The funds raised by SunMed, he said, would be channelled to help more than 1,600 patients annually.
Besides that, there is also a Diabetic Dialysis Patient’s Day, Diabetes Self Management Education programmes and a talk for general practitioners on wound care and management.
The fundraising campaign will run until Jan 17. They hope to raise RM50,000 from the public and donate RM100,000 to NKF.
To get a calendar-cum-pledge card, visit SunMed or donate online at www.peoplegiving.org
Instagram submissions for the campaign will be accepted until Nov 30 for the grand prize of flight tickets worth up to RM5,000.
Weekly prizes are given for entries with the most “likes”.
For details, visit www.sunwaymedical.com