Heart disease: the number one killer of Malaysians since 1970s

Heart disease: the number one killer of Malaysians since 1970s

The statistics

Heart diseases were the third-biggest cause of death in Malaysia in 1950. By the 1970s, they have become the number one killer and remained so since (except in 1980). In 2014, heart diseases killed 10,432 people or 13.5% of all deaths in Malaysia.

Cardiovascular (relating to the heart and blood vessels) disease is responsible for one-quarter of all hospital deaths in Malaysia. Moreover, Malaysian acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients are relatively younger at 58.5 years old when compared to registries from more than 40 other countries. In the Americas and Europe, the figure is at 66, while Thailand reports 65, Middle East at 56, and 60 in India.

IMAGE: 123RF

One out of four heart attack patients in Malaysia are less than 50 years old.

What are heart diseases? What causes them?

There are no shortage of online resources on heart disease. MedicineNet.com explores this topic in great detail, and in digestible nuggets. Below are excerpts, paraphrased.

Heart disease refers to various types of conditions that can affect heart function. They include:

  • Coronary artery heart disease – affects the arteries to the heart.
  • Valvular heart disease – affects how the valves function to regulate blood flow in/out of
    the heart.
  • Cardiomyopathy – affects how the heart muscle squeezes.
  • Heart rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias) – affect electrical conduction.
  • Heart infections where the heart has structural problems that developed before birth.
  • Like any other muscle in the body, the heart needs an adequate supply of blood to provide it oxygen to fulfil its role – pumping blood to the rest of the body. When one or more coronary arteries narrow, it may make it difficult for sufficient blood to reach the heart, especially during exertions, such as exercise. This could cause the heart muscle to ache, just like any other muscle in the body. If the arteries continue to narrow, it may take less activity to stress the heart and provoke symptoms.

    If a coronary artery becomes completely blocked – usually due to a plaque that ruptures and causes a blood clot to form – blood supply to that area of the heart may be lost, causing the heart muscle there to start dying. This is called a myocardial infarction (myo=muscle + cardia=heart + infarction=tissue death), or heart attack in layman’s term. If not swiftly treated, the affected part of the muscle cannot be revived. It dies and is replaced by scar tissue. Long term, this scar tissue will decrease the heart's ability to pump efficiently, and may lead to ischemic cardiomyopathy (ischemic=decreased blood supply + cardio=heart + myo=muscle + pathy=disease).

    Are you at risk?

    IMAGE: 123RF

    Heart diseases are not caused by one single factor. There are several risk factors that increase your chance of developing heart disease. Knowing your risks is the first step to avoidance.

    Factors that put people at increased risk for heart disease are:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of heart problems, especially heart attacks and strokes
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Heart Disease: Control and Awareness is among the topics featured at the 1st Penang Medical Expo & Malaysian Healthcare Policy Conference (PMEX 2017), to be held at Setia SPICE Convention Centre on 10-12 November 2017. PMEX 2017 is organised by the Penang State Government and Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) in collaboration with Penang Centre of Medical Tourism, Penang Institute, Invest Penang and Malaysia Medical Association, Penang Branch.

    PMEX aims to serve as a platform for all interested parties from health-related sectors to communicate, exchange ideas, formulate solutions and create a healthcare network in Malaysia.

    For more information, visit:

    penangmedicalexpo.org

    A call to increase cigarette prices up to RM100

    A call to increase cigarette prices up to RM100

    The proposal to increase the price of a pack of cigarettes to RM50 in light of the coming Budget 2018 announcement is seen as small and might be futile to our ongoing struggle to prevent the smoking habit among our people especially among the youth.

    If the government is serious to stop the addiction of our citizens to such an item, the government needs to take bold steps on such issues, namely by increasing the price of each pack of cigarettes to RM100; this will automatically turn cigarettes into luxury items whereby most people can no longer afford to buy it.

    Increasing the price of cigarettes can be seen as one of the most effective ways to reduce cigarette consumption and addiction among smokers as well as having the ability to deter potential new smokers.

    This measure has also been recognised by several tobacco control experts and also the parties in the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO – FCTC) of which Malaysia is a Party since September 2005.

    Since smoking has been regarded by many as a cause of many preventable illnesses and can even lead to premature death, there have been many efforts carried out over the years by the government to control and curb the cigarette selling and smoking habit among the public.

    Sadly, no positive results have yet to appear from all the efforts which have been taken. Though the price of cigarettes keeps increasing from year to year, it is still not enough to stop our citizens from purchasing and consuming it.

    This is because such increases are not drastic enough to make people rethink many times before purchasing it. As such, drastic measures need to be taken in order to force people to consider that smoking cigarette will not only affect their health but will also severely affect their wallets.

    Coway Run on 7th May was a tremendous success!

    Coway Run on 7th May was a tremendous success!

    Community runs are becoming a large part of growing cities. In Malaysia, Coway – The Water Specialist™ is a huge advocate of the benefits of running. This year, Coway Run was held on 7th May and attracted more than 4000 members of the public. The event was a tremendous success.

    Coway Run is a running event that includes any type of runner with open and veteran categories for men and women. It was participated by many, not necessarily athletes. Among the crowd, were a couple of key leaders, Jordan Yeoh and Carey Ng. Jordan Yeoh is a bodybuilder and has built a reputation as a fitness coach, a model and participated in dance competitions overseas as well. Carey Ng is best known for her status as former Miss Universe Malaysia and now actively participate in the pageant as a mentor and director. Both of them represent the different areas to benefit from physical fitness and joining the Coway Run was evident that they could run too!

    Winners of Coway Run 10km Men Open (Left) Managing Director of Coway Malaysia Kyle Choi (Right) Coway CEO Harri Lee

    For the rest of the runners, the appearance of both of these public figures serves as an inspiration to push the boundaries to stay healthy and fit. Some runners loved the experience of simply sharing the breezing wind while marching forward. It creates a warm, harmonious atmosphere that will leave you smiling and forget all the fatigueness. Behind the run, Coway Runners spread health awareness and directly promote running as an essential way to stay fit. Coway aims to continue this event in the coming years based on the large positive feedback received.

    As the Water Specialist™, Coway has been frontlining to create awareness of drinking clean water as a part of a healthy lifestyle. Water, which constitutes the majority of our body, can directly affect your daily life. Drinking cleaner and purified water increases metabolism and energy levels, as well as to improve skin conditions. Water that comes to your household are not necessarily free of impurities and pollutants, but merely at an “acceptable” rate.

    Many argue that at this rate, there is not telling if the water is safe for drinking. The only way to ensure your drinking water is clean and pure is to purify it. As an expert in this field, Coway knows this. They have been actively developing better technology to improve the quality of drinking water in their lab in South Korea, which is also the largest R&D centre in the world. This is no easy feat. Each water purifier undergoes 1 million tests!

    The stigma that water purifiers are expensive is a myth of the past, since Coway offers a very reasonable RM70 monthly rental fee, which includes once every two months maintenance, and is the most frequent service in the market to ensure the quality of water you are drinking is always at its best condition. It is no longer a novelty to purify your water, and 6 million homes have been using their purifiers. No wonder Coway Water Purifier is the number 1 water purifier brand in Malaysia and Korea.

    FASTEST #COWAYRUN RUNNER

    Be the change you want to be, and prepare yourself for the next Coway Run by drinking cleaner water everyday! 

    5 things you didn’t know about hearing aids and hearing loss

    5 things you didn’t know about hearing aids and hearing loss

    5 things you didn’t know about hearing aids and hearing loss

    Free consultation for you

    A 25 year-long American study has found a direct correlation between hearing loss and dementia.

    T he study revealed much regarding the common occurence of hearing loss that plagues society, and how to prevent hearing loss from affecting your daily routine.

    Hearing loss is the result of sound signals not reaching the brain. It can make certain syllables and sounds harder to hear. High-pitched consonants like f, s and t are easily drowned out by louder, low-pitched vowels like a, o and u. This results in a person with hearing loss complaining that they can hear that others are speaking, but not understand what they are actually saying.

    Sign up for a free consultation

    Here are the 5 things you did not know about hearing aids and hearing loss

    1) Symptoms of hearing loss

    Symptoms of hearing loss may have more subtle characteristics than other diseases like diabetes that more obviously present themselves. Symptoms of hearing loss include things like:

    Asking people to repeat themselves.

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    Asking people to repeat themselves.

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    Turning the TV volume up more than required.

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    Turning the TV volume up more than required.

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    Problems understanding speech if someone talks from behind or by their side.

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    Problems understanding speech if someone talks from behind or by their side.

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    Attend less social events like family gatherings than in the past.

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    Attend less social events like family gatherings than in the past.

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    If you suffer from any of these symptoms, it’s likely that you may have hearing loss. hear.com offers free consultations

    2) Hearing loss can lead to decreased cognitive function

    Loss of hearing can cause the brain to slowly degenerate due to the cognitive load that is put on the brain in order to process those sounds, sacrificing the efficiency of processing other functions such as memory and thinking. The study of 600 older adults found that those with untreated hearing loss at the beginning of the study were more likely to develop dementia than adults who had hearing loss but were wearing hearing aids.

    Learn more

    3) Hearing aids can aid in protecting cognitive function

    By helping the user to detect and translate these sounds into a form that the brain can easily interpret, it lessens the cognitive load, letting it spend the extra effort on other functions such as memory and decision making.

    Learn more

    4) One in three people above 50 has hearing loss

    According to the American centre for disease control, hearing loss is the third most chronic condition and more commonplace than the more widely known diseases such as diabetes and asthma. The CDC estimates roughly 600 million people worldwide are living with hearing loss and that this is most prevalent in Asian Pacific countries, which includes Malaysia.

    Learn more

    5) Hearing aid technology has improved by leaps and bounds

    Hearing aids are impressive micro-computers that detect your listening environment and adjusts itself to suit your needs. Today’s devices can even be controlled from your smartphone via bluetooth, and unlike in years past when hearing aids were large, protruding devices, today’s hearing aids are almost invisible, only a few millimeters long and roughly the size of coffee beans.

    Today, the new Siemens technology offers advanced features that will enhance your ability to hear clearly. hear.com offers models in three categories of technology, basic, mid-range, and premium, to match the level of your hearing loss and your budget needs.

    For a free consultation,

    Free from cancer, but shackled by discrimination

    Free from cancer, but shackled by discrimination

    Free from cancer, but shackled by discrimination

    Ariv Chelvam, 11 April 2017

    The battle against cancer is not only mentally and physically challenging, but also financially costly. Even after recovering from cancer, the battle does not end there as cancer survivors often find themselves shunned by employers.

    For many, a second chance in life does not come by easy. Adam (not real name), is one such example.

    Adam was diagnosed with Stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in February 2016 and began his chemotherapy the same month.

    By his third treatment, he was finding it difficult to cope with his job at a logistic company as he was suffering from weakness and fatigue. He resigned the following month.

    Five months later, towards the tail end of his treatment in August 2016, Adam finally decided to rejoin the workforce and began applying for jobs.

    However, even after he was declared cancer-free in October of that year, Adam was still unable to land a job.

    Adam said he couldn’t go back to his old company as they had found a replacement.

    “I don’t blame them because they found someone else to replace me, I was gone for a long time,” he said.

    However, other companies were not keen on hiring him.

    “When I told them (potential employers in interviews) that I just recovered from cancer, you can see their faces change, and we’re talking about big companies,” Adam told Malaysiakini.

    He said it was different before he was diagnosed with cancer.

    “It was very easy to get a job (at that time)… at my previous company, the boss was really nice, he was very supportive throughout my career.”

    Adam finally landed a human resource job in December that year, after four months of persistent job-seeking.

    Cancer and the civil service

    Halimahton Shaari, 58, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, had a slightly different experience.

    A 22-year veteran in education, Halimahton had no problem returning to the civil service the following year after her cancer treatment.

    However, she noticed that some things had changed upon her return.

    “… People did wonder if I was able to handle the work as they kept asking if I was okay and whether I could handle my work,” she said.

    Halimahton said she had no problem keeping up but noted that cancer survivors do face challenges after recovery.

    “As much as survivors think they can (cope with their usual work routine), they need the space to recover from (the) ravaging treatment of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

    “Thus, they should be eased back to their work routine and not (be) immediately bombarded with demanding workload,” she said.

    Halimahton, who continued to be involved in the decision-making process, stressed that the perception that cancer survivors cannot perform at work was wrong.

    She resigned from the civil service early last year to pursue her personal interests, including volunteer work.

    According to personal finance portal iMoney, cancer treatment can cost between RM56,000 to RM395,000 depending on the type of cancer.

    The ASEAN Costs in Oncology study found 51 percent of cancer patients face financial difficulties within a year after diagnosis.

    This makes it all the more imperative for cancer survivors to be able to find work.

    Acknowledging the challenges faced by cancer survivors in the employment market, Hospital Kuala Lumpur’s Radiotherapy and Oncology Department, in cooperation with the National Cancer Society Malaysia, launched cancerfly.com last February.

    Already, a number of companies have come on board the jobs portal for cancer survivors, which include Prudential BSN Takaful.

    Higher cost to hire survivors

    There are a number of reasons why employers are reluctant to hire cancer survivors, said Prudential BSN Takaful unit manager Norhaimah Muhamad.

    “Some offices provide free medical (benefits) to all their staff. But if cancer survivors were to be employed, the office will need to pay more in terms of insurance premium, it’s basically stressing the management financially,” she said.

    However, Norhaimah said Prudential BSN Takaful is willing to hire cancer survivors and urged them to enquire about jobs at their branches.

    The company last February also set up a booth at Kuala Lumpur Hospital offering jobs to cancer survivors.

    Lawyer Sonia Abraham said under Malaysian law, job applicants have a legal obligation to be truthful in their job application.

    This includes being upfront and disclosing about one’s cancer, said Sonia, who specialises in employment law.

    She said there are no specific laws to prevent discrimination against cancer sufferers but added that there were general provisions such as the Employment Act 1955 and Industrial Relations Act 1967, which protects the rights of all employees including cancer sufferers.

    In the US, the American with Disabilities Act and Federal Rehabilitation Act specifically prohibits discrimination of employees who have or have had cancer.

    Sonia said to date, there had not been any reported cases of an employee being dismissed due to cancer in Malaysia.

    However, she said this does not mean there was no discrimination against cancer sufferers.

    “There could be instances when an employer terminates an employee (as) they don’t want to deal with their health problems and then tries to find other reasons to justify their actions,” she said.

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    Where to begin with Chinese medicine and Western medicine?

    Gout, an ‘ancient’ disease that has been plaguing humans since ancient Egypt circa 7,000 years ago. Archaeological studies found that mummies excavated from the Egyptian pyramids contained urate crystals in their joints. Famous Greek physician Hippocrates also stated the existence of gout in his times.

    In ancient times, people’s understanding of gout was virtually nil, let alone treatment and medication. When gout strikes, they simply resort to seeking divine help, hoping for a miracle.

    Pharmacologists at DALTON, Australia discovered that drinking hot (Australian cudweed flower) herbal drink can significantly help to reduce one’s uric acid and joint pain relief.

    Australian cudweed flower contains rich anti-gout ingredients that can break down stubborn tophi effectively.

    The 100% natural herbal and non-pharmaceutical formula of SORNADO Tea Bag has a number of positive effects such as balancing uric acid levels, relieving joint pains, detoxification, repairing spleen and kidneys, promoting haematopoiesis and strengthening immune system. SORNADO Tea Bag is accorded with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) certification by the Department of Health, Australia for its efficacy in normalizing uric acid levels (Certification Number: AUST L203504).

    The efficacy of SORNADO Tea Bag is derived primarily from remedying the root cause of purine metabolism disorder by controlling the production of uric acid while at the same time stimulating the decomposition of urates and discharge of uric acid. Overall, it helps to restore uric acid to normal levels to prevent acute gout attacks and fundamentally ease the pain.

    The uric acid reduction efficacy of SORNADO Tea Bag is 17.7 times higher than that of colchicine, as the findings of the year-long study reveals. Clinical trial had also proved that SORNADO Tea Bag is able to keep the gout recurrence rate down to below 40% and more significantly, it does not cause any side effects.

    Therefore, SORNADO Tea Bag is not only created for gout patients but also for people with high uric acid levels!

    Get RM12 off Sornado Tea Bags!

    Sornado Tea Bags

    Sornado Tea Bags

    Sornado Tea Bag assists in control of uric acid level and reducing inflammation and pain associated with gout. With this promo code <MKGOUT12>, readers can get a discount of RM12/box when purchasing on LogOn.

     

    • Only valid for the first 500 purchasers
    • Promo code is effective from 5th Dec.2016 until 21st May 2017

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