KOTA BARU: There are about 100 teenagers under the age of 18 who are currently receiving treatment for diabetes at the Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital (HUSM) Kubang Kerian.
HUSM Kubang Kerian’s endocrinologist Assoc Prof Dr Wan Mohd Izani Wan Mohamed said unhealthy lifestyle, lack of physical activities and high sugar intake were among factors contributing to the increase in diabetes among youth.
According to the Health Ministry, some 3.6 million Malaysians are confirmed diabetics – the highest rate in Asia. By 2025, seven million adults, both diagnosed and undiagnosed, are projected to be affected by diabetes.
“Diabetes is one of the most serious illnesses, apart from heart disease and stroke as it involves costly treatment at between RM150 and RM300 a month for patients who are taking insulin.
“The cost will increase to RM3,000 if the patient also suffers kidney failure, which requires dialysis.
“This will burden them if they are not government-funded, ” he said during the World Diabetes Day (WDD) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Community Day, held in conjunction with USM’s 50th anniversary, at SK Banggu yesterday.The event was officiated by Malaysian Diabetes Association Kelantan branch patron Datuk Tengku Salwani Ibni Almarhum Sultan Yahya Petra.
Also present were HUSM director Prof Datuk Dr Ahmad Sukari Halim, WDD project head Dr Nani Draman and some 500 local residents.
Dr Wan Mohd Izani, who is also the association’s state chairman, said it would require cooperation of all parties to raise awareness on diabetes to carry out early detection and to avoid complications, as well as to reduce treatment costs.
He said nearly 50% of diabetes sufferers did not show symptoms but it could be detected, treated and controlled through regular screening and optimising diabetes treatment by using drugs or insulin.
Separately, Dr Nani said the WDD celebration was being held in a school for the first time to bring the community closer.
“Previously, it was organised at supermarkets around the state but it did not meet the target.
“So by having it in a school, we hope to boost the awareness about diabetes and early detection, ” she said.
Among activities organised were a health exhibition, free health screenings and healthy menu cooking competitions. — Bernama