19 August 2018

Those above 20 should consider health screening

Those above 20 should consider health screening
ALOR SETAR: Those above 20 years of age are advised to undergo health screening at least once a year to detect diseases like diabetes that appears more prevalent in the younger age group these days, says the deputy president of Family Medicine Specialists Association of Malaysia Dr Sri Wahyu Taher.

However, those who come from families with chronic diseases or suffer from other high risk conditions like obesity, it is better that they undergo screening every six months to detect any health issues right at the early stage.

“Based on the 2017 statistics of the outpatients coming to my clinic alone, 15 to 20 percent of them are at high risk for diabetes. Their blood sugar results are at the pre diabetes or clinical diabetes (very high sugar level) stage,” said the family medicine consultant specialist attached with the Simpang Kuala Health Clinic near here.


“Many of them come to the clinic for other problems like fever or stomach ache and not for health screening when they find their sugar levels high.

“Here, the doctor will advice all those coming to the clinic to undergo basic health screening like blood sugar level, blood pressure and weight even if they come with other problems,” said Dr Sri Wahyu who is also the head of the clinic to Bernama recently.

On Feb 11, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya was quoted by Bernama as saying the younger generation is increasingly afflicted with diabetes, hypertension, stroke, cancer and heart disease. Though he did not state the statistics, obviously this is a cause of concern.

Dr Sri Wahyu, who is also the Kota Setar district chairperson of the Malaysian Diabetes Association, noted that the normal fasting sugar level should be 5.6 mmol/l or less and should be no more than 7.8 mmol/l for those who did the blood sugar screening two hours after a meal.

“In the event the blood sugar level exceeds 7.8 mmol/l, diabetes cannot be ruled out and the doctors will conduct further test to confirm the problem,” she said adding that a sugar level above 5.6 mmol/l would indicate the person is at high risk of being afflicted with diabetes.


Those at high risk should watch their diet and undergo blood glucose screening regularly.

Dr Sri Wahyu noted that diabetes should not be taken lightly as it is the mother of all diseases as it could also cause glaucoma, kidney failure, heart attack and even stroke if no effort is taken to keep the disease in check.

“Prevention is better than cure. If early screening is done, we will know the state of our health better. If one gets to know that the blood sugar level is high, one could start cutting down high calorie food or sweet food or start on medication ,” she said adding that the doctor has to monitor regularly those on the high risk state.

Based on her own experience, the youngest patient with diabetes that she came across at her clinic was a 17 year old male with a body weight of 120 kg. The patient was given insulin jabs due to the high blood sugar level caused by unhealthy diet that included junk food.

“However, it was an isolated case. Though the number of youngsters inflicted with diabetes is not alarming at present, the number has been rising over the years. This trend will contribute towards the risk of chronic diseases and complications related to diabetes on youngsters.


“It appears that there is a direct correlation between chronic diseases at a young age and overweight and obesity,” she said.

Dr Sri Wahyu noted that looking at the fact that youngsters are increasingly prone to diabetes, her clinic has taken the initiative to roll out the diabetes and pre diabetes intervention programme.

Under the programme those who have been diagnosed with diabetes after undergoing health screening at the clinic will be asked to join the Diabetes Intervention Programme while the Pre Diabetes Intervention Programme will enlist those in the high risk group.

“Both programmes will go on for three months. They have to come for the programme on Friday or Saturday. Both programmes will be conducted for three months and the programme on Friday or Saturday will go on from 8 am to 12 noon “.

Both the programmes and the talk held once a week will expose the youngsters to a healthy lifestyle including proper dietary habits, stress management and exercise, and educate them on diabetes.


Meanwhile, a former participant of the 2016 Diabetes Intervention Programme, Suriya Che Noor, 50, felt that she had learnt much from the programme especially in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“Through the programme, I know better now on how to keep in check my food intake and blood sugar level. Previously I used to eat according to my taste. Initially it was difficult to change my ways, but as time went by everything fell into place,” she said.

The housewife is also under medication and under the doctor’s watch where she visits the clinic once every three months.

A participant of the Pre Diabetes Intervention programme Mohamad Tajuddin Mat Isa, 47, noted that since attending the programme he has embarked on a healthy diet and active lifestyle.

The Pekan Rabu Cooperative officer said within tree months after taking part in the programme, he managed to reduce his body weight from 95 kg to 89 kg with his blood sugar level and blood pressure under control.

“This is an excellent programme. Until now I have been practicing whatever prescribed under the programme to lead a healthy lifestyle. Now everyday I will jog for half an hour before I get ready for work. I also participate in Zumba on Friday and Saturday mornings,” he said.


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