KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 — Heart disease has remained the leading cause of death among Malaysians for 13 years from 2005 to 2017, Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said.
However, he said it was the non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, as well as obesity, unhealthy diet and lifestyle, which had contributed to the increase in heart disease.
“The increase of ageing population also contributed to the increase in the number of heart patients and with a longer life expectancy, continuous treatment would be required.
“By 2040, it is estimated that the population of Malaysians aged 65 and above will exceed six million, which is 14.5 per cent of the total population. This means the burden of coronary heart diseases is expected to multiply in the near future,” he said at the opening of the Tung Shin Hospital Cardiac Care Service Centre yesterday.
Dr Lee said the increase in mortality rate due to heart disease was also worrying as it had seen an increase of 54 per cent over 10 years with 13,503 deaths in 2017 as compared to 8,776 in 2007.
“The average age of people getting heart disease in Malaysia is 58, much younger in comparison to other countries.
“In Thailand, the average age of people getting heart disease is 65, Singapore (61 years), China (63 years), United States (66 years) and Canada 68 years,” he said.
In another development, Dr Lee said it was not right for parents to think of vaccination as a source of health problems in children, let alone to claim that it could lead to disabilities.
“We have evidence that vaccination is effective and can prevent many diseases such as rubella, tuberculosis and tetanus.
“More than 98 per cent of the population were vaccinated against those diseases, while the remaining did not. For parents who still doubt the effectiveness of vaccination, they can lodge official complaints and we will carry out the investigations. In fact, there are other factors that contribute to the health problems of children,” he said.
Yesterday, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a press statement urged parents to comply with the National Immunisation Schedule and not to believe in false propaganda about the harmful effects of vaccines on social media. — Bernama