Heart disease leading cause of death globally, treatment cost expected to rise


KUALA LUMPUR: The treatment cost of heart problems in this county is expected to continue to increase if there are no effective actions taken by stakeholders in controlling and preventing the disease, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Citing this year’s “The Direct Healthcare Cost of Non-communicable Diseases in Malaysia” report, the Health director-general said an estimated RM3.93bil of the total RM9.65bil in healthcare costs in 2017 was allocated to treating heart patients.

"Therefore, collaborations between the Health Ministry and other agencies, including government departments, statutory bodies, private sectors and non-governmental organisations, are vital to strengthening the governance of heart disease care and prevention in Malaysia more comprehensively.

"More importantly, the role of the community is critical in ensuring the success of this effort,” he said in his welcoming speech at the launch of the World heart Day celebration, which was streamed live on the MyHealth Portal’s Facebook page.

Dr Noor Hisham said heart disease or cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, causing over 18.6 million deaths yearly.

He said of the total, 85% were caused by coronary heart diseases such as heart attack and stroke, mostly involving low- and middle-income countries.

"In Malaysia, ischemic heart disease remains the main cause of death with 18,515 deaths or 17% recorded in 2020, an increase from 11.6% in 2000,” he said.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali, in his speech when launching the celebration, urged parents to set an excellent example to their children in adopting a healthy lifestyle to control and prevent illnesses such as heart disease.

He said unhealthy lifestyles such as eating foods high in fat, salt and sugar, smoking habits, not exercising and stress would increase a person’s risk of various diseases.

"If we want healthy and fit children, we as parents must first adopt a healthy lifestyle. Parents must create an environment to encourage a healthy lifestyle,” he said.

Dr Noor Azmi said this year’s World Heart Day celebration with the theme “Use Heart, For Every Heart”, aims to increase community awareness in preventing heart disease by considering how best to use the heart for humanity, nature and oneself. - Bernama

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