Warning signs for diabetics in urine


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 23 Nov 2003

BY AUDREY EDWARDS

PETALING JAYA: More than a third of Type 2 diabetics in Malaysia – who have a minute amount of protein in their urine – have early kidney and heart problems. 

This was indicated in a global campaign, which showed that of 266 Type 2 diabetics screened last month in Malaysia , 36.8% had microalbuminuria (MAU), a condition where very small amounts of albumin – a type of protein normally found in the blood – are present in the urine. 

It is the first warning sign of a patient developing serious kidney and cardiovascular complications and 50% of those who have it can have kidney failure within five to 10 years. 

Speaking at a press conference here on Thursday to reveal the Malaysian results of the Developing Education on Microalbuminuria for Awareness of Renal and Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (Demand) campaign, Federation of Private Medical Practitioners Associations Malaysia (FPMPAM) president Dr Steven Chow said it provided the true situation of what was happening around the world. 

“It is representative of the outpatient diabetic population in the country. 

“Early detection and appropriate treatment is the most effective strategy in long term management,” he added. 

Dr Chow warned that if the situation was not corrected, it would pose an enormous financial burden on the country in treating patients with end stage kidney disease, who would need dialysis or transplants. 

The global campaign was carried out between June and September and involved 32,248 patients from 34 countries. 

In Malaysia, it was organised by the International Diabetes Federation, International Society of Nephrology, Sanofi-Synthelabo, FPMPAM, Malaysian Diabetes Association and Private Medical Practitioners Association of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. 

From the 266 patients screened, 244 were selected by general practitioners in the Klang Valley and the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC). 

The results of the campaign also showed that the bulk of patients did not have their diabetes under control – 87.1% were hypertensive, 63.5% had family history of diabetes, 51.6% were not on any hypertension medication and 37.2% of those who had MAU were also hypertensive. 

Dr Chow urged patients to undergo the MAU test available at clinics, when diagnosed and annually after that.  

UMMC consultant physician Prof Datin Dr Chia Yook Chin said early intervention using the right medication could “reverse” a patient’s MAU condition. 

“If you treat the microalbuminuria diabetic, the condition can be reversed and disappear. But this has to be done before the patient gets macroalbuminuria. But even then, treatment can delay the damage,” she said. 

Malaysian Diabetes Association president Prof Dr Chan Siew Pheng said the results showed that it was possible to identify those who were at risk of developing kidney and cardiovascular diseases. 

Type 2 diabetes, also called adult onset diabetes, occurs when the insulin produced is not enough or does not function properly. 

Type 1 occurs when the body does not produce insulin and insulin injections are usually needed. 

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