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Did you know that Diabetes break heart @ The Star

A Sweet Reminder from ‘For Your Sweetheart’ Campaign to ‘Think Diabetes, Think Heart’

As 2020 draws to a close, most Malaysians are reuniting with families and celebrating the festive season with loved ones (albeit a low-key one due to the current pandemic). The year end period is also a time where many take stock of their health, reflect on the year that was and make resolutions for the coming new year.

During this period where we take some time for self-care, “For Your Sweetheart” campaign would like to send a sweet reminder to those living with diabetes to think about their heart-health and diabetes-related heart disease. This is because most people, including diabetes patients, are aware of the common complications of diabetes, such as kidney disease, limb amputation and blindness. Unfortunately, very few are aware that people with diabetes are four times more likely to develop heart disease1 and approximately 50.3% of deaths in people with diabetes were caused by diabetes-related heart disease2. In a simple, yet thought-provoking question – Did you know that diabetes can ‘break’ your heart?

Diabetes is a major public health concern in Malaysia, and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) has escalated to 20.8%3 in adults above the age of 30, affecting 2.83 million individuals. Malaysia is currently the country with the highest rate of diabetes in Asia.

There is an urgent need to address this. Those living with diabetes need to be aware of their increased risks of developing diabetes-related heart disease. Therefore, Malaysian Endocrine and Metabolic Society (MEMS) and Malaysian Diabetes Educators Society (MDES), supported by Boehringer Ingelheim, has embarked on a nationwide public awareness and education campaign to educate Malaysians about the link between diabetes and heart diseases.

This campaign also aims to highlight the urgent need for those living with diabetes to take care of their heart health. Patients and their caregivers must know their increased risks of developing heart disease. They are encouraged to speak to their doctors or diabetes educator (DE) to learn how they can protect their heart and prevent heart disease.

During a live webinar organised by The Star and Boehringer Ingelheim last month in conjunction with World Diabetes Day, Subang Jaya Medical Centre (SJMC) Senior Consultant Endocrinologist Prof Dr Chan Siew Pheng said, “One out of two people admitted for heart attack in Malaysia has diabetes. Diabetes also causes kidney failure. Two out of every three patients who require dialysis are diabetics. The longer you have diabetes, the higher your chances of developing heart disease.”

“Diabetes is a common contributor to ‘broken hearts’ but we can control the disease. There is medication to improve the outcome for people with diabetes. There is hope, so don’t give up,” added Prof Chan. Prof Chan advised that prevention is the key and patients should consult their doctors on medications that could protect their heart, kidney and other organs. “Choose the right medicine. To do that, get the right information, meet the right people and get the right advice.”

So, there you go – a sweet reminder from ‘For Your Sweetheart’ campaign as we close 2020. Remember, when you think about diabetes, think also about your heart.

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1 Card Fail Rev. 2017 Apr; 3(1): 52–55)

2 Einarson, T. R., Acs, A., Ludwig, C., & Panton, U. H. (2018). Prevalence of cardiovascular disease in type 2 diabetes: a systematic literature review of scientific evidence from across the world in 2007–2017. Cardiovascular, 17(1), 1–1. doi: 10.1186/s12933-018-0728-6

3 Zanariah Hussein, Sri Wahyu Taher, Harvinder Kaur Gilcharan Singh, Winnie Chee Siew Swee, Annals of Global Health Volume 81, Issue 6, November–December 2015, Pages 851-862. Diabetes Care in Malaysia: Problems, New Models, and Solutions.