KUCHING: The state Health Department will go all out to encourage people, especially those with a family history of diabetes, to go for medical checks following a survey which showed that many of them are unaware they have the disease.
Sarawak health director Dr Yao Sik Chi cited a morbidity survey carried out nationwide by the Health Ministry in 1996 which showed that 8.6% of adults aged over 30 were diabetics but 3.5% of them did not know it.
We are trying to detect them by carrying out health screenings in towns and rural areas, he said after attending the launch of the state-level World Diabetes Day here yesterday.
Last year, 61 government clinics in Sarawak carried out diabetes screening on 15,331 adults aged 35 and above, of whom 7% were found to have a high level of glucose while 4.4% were classified as borderline diabetics.
In addition, government hospitals reported 1,488 cases of diabetes and 11 deaths in Sarawak last year.
Dr Yao said the number of diabetics detected in the state increased every year, mainly due to an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.
He said the health office here was in the process of collecting data from registered diabetics to find out the overall situation in the state. The results of the analysis are expected to be ready by next year.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan, when launching the state-level event at the Kuching South City Council auditorium here, said diabetes was a leading cause of end-stage renal diseases in Malaysia.
At least one-third of diabetics will develop severe kidney disease eventually resulting in kidney dysfunction. This condition will subject the diabetic to be permanently dependent on dialysis treatment unless a kidney transplant is performed, he said.
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