KUALA LUMPUR: An alarming 3.6 million adults are estimated to be affected by diabetes in Malaysia, according to the Obesity Prevention Council President, Jong Koi Chong.
Jong said the number was very high and has put Malaysia as the number one country in Asean for having the highest number of diabetics and sixth in the western pacific region.
"That is not an achievement to be proud of and we must all work together and help educate the public on the importance of prevention and maintenance of the disease," he said.
During the 4th National Diabetes Conference here Friday, Jong said compared to 2006 where only 8.6 percent adults in Malaysia had diabetes, the most recent study done in 2011 showed 15.2 percent adults were diabetic.
Also present at the conference was Director of Medical Development department in the Health Ministry, Datuk Dr Azmi Shapie and the Malaysian Diabetes Association (MDA) President, Professor Datuk Dr Ikram Shah Ismail.
Dr Ikram Shah said Malaysia had surpassed the World Health Organisation's estimation of 807,000 diabetics in 2025.
He added that diabetes was a chronic disease that can be prevented and for those affected, diabetes can be managed to delay or prevent its complications.
Meanwhile, Dr Azmi advised Malaysians to prevent, manage diabetes and its complications by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and making better choices in their diet.
He added that blindness, kidney failure, gangrene leading to amputations and heart disease are complications that can be prevented by making better choices and having a balanced diet.
"Making small changes in our lifestyle will make a big difference. We should walk more, take the stairs instead of an elevator and avoid fatty food, especially, late night," he said.
Dr Azmi also advised the public to go for regular medical check up at least twice annually. - Bernama