KUALA LUMPUR: Individuals with diabetes are more likely to develop a more severe form of Covid-19, says Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic).
The Health director-general said the virus does not discriminate whom it infects including those with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes.
"Uncontrolled diabetes compromises the body’s immune system.
"However, the risk of having a severe Covid-19 infection can be minimised if the diabetes is well-controlled. The best strategy against Covid-19 is prevention," he said in his keynote address at the launch of the clinical practice guidelines (CPG) on the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (sixth edition) during a webinar session on Saturday (Jan 30).
According to Dr Noor Hisham, modern medicine has come a long way since, along with the understanding of the disease.
"I note that there has been a recent explosion of advances made in the management of diabetic complications.
"The use of new technology and findings from landmark trials have changed clinical pathways and recommendations in the way type 2 diabetes mellitus is managed.
"This has been reflected in the latest clinical practice guidelines for the 6th edition of the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus," he said.
"In addition, I note that these guidelines also focus on preventing and reducing diabetes-related complications, thereby improving clinical outcomes.
"This CPG will form a valuable resource for healthcare professionals by addressing management issues from primary up to tertiary care levels," added Dr Noor Hisham.
He said in this network age, all parties should no longer be working in silos and reaffirmed the importance and recognition of a multidisciplinary approach in managing type 2 diabetes mellitus.
"Besides its negative impact on the quality of life and healthcare cost, diabetes also increases the economic burden of individuals, families and communities and affects national productivity.
"Therefore, well-controlled diabetes and limiting its complication must be achieved with a holistic approach and active patients’ participation.
"This can be achieved with the support of appropriate diabetes education and lifestyle modification by the healthcare professional as well as pharmacological treatment," he said.
Dr Noor Hisham added that the integration of care services to emphasise the patient at the very centre of care, in the chronic care model will improve the patient’s motivation and journey living with diabetes.
"In this century, medical professionals should embrace technology and innovation - and note that there is an emphasis on the potential to use mobile apps and other forms of technological advances and telemedicine to improve diabetes self-management," he said.
He said the importance of this is even greater now in the context of the new norm forced on everyone by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The breadth and the depth of material covered reflect the commitment and dedication of the CPG committee despite the difficulties encountered during the Covid-19 pandemic," he said.
In congratulating the CPG committee, Dr Noor Hisham reminded that the CPG task force’s responsibility does not stop at launching the completed document.
He hoped that the rollout plan would help healthcare professionals to apply the new CPG to improve diabetes care in the country.