KUALA LUMPUR: The treatment cost of heart disease is expected to continue to rise if no effective action is taken by stakeholders to control and prevent the disease, said health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
Citing this year’s The Direct Healthcare Cost of Non-communicable Diseases in Malaysia report, he said an estimated RM3.93 billion of the total RM9.65 billion 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 at the launch of the World Heart Day celebration, streamed live on MyHealth portal’s Facebook page.
Noor Hisham said heart disease or cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, inflicting more than 18.6 million fatalities yearly.
Of the total, he said, 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 fatalities or 17% recorded in 2020, an increase from 11.6% in 2000,” he said.
In a separate address, deputy health minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali urged parents to set an example to their children in adopting a healthy lifestyle to control and prevent illnesses such as heart disease.
He said unhealthy lifestyle habits such as eating foods high in fat, salt and sugar, coupled with smoking, 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,” he said.