Heart disease: Country facing 'sick generation'

Government braces for rising medical costs as teen heart disease increases

Farhana Abd Kadir
Farhana Abd Kadir
04 Feb 2024 07:02am
Photo for illustration purposes only. - Photo by 123RF
Photo for illustration purposes only. - Photo by 123RF
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SHAH ALAM - Teenagers aged 18 and below have a high potential to suffer from heart disease and the number is expected to continue to increase in the next 10 or 20 years if no intervention is taken by any relevant party.

Public Health Physician Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar said if there was no prevention at an early stage, the country would give birth to a 'sick generation' and the government would also have to bear high medical costs.

According to him, the number of heart patients between ages 20 and 29 was also increasing globally and Malaysia was no exception to that list.

"If there is no aggressive action, we fear that the people in this country will contribute to the statistics of an unhealthy generation in the next 10 years.

"In addition, the medical costs that have to be borne by the government will increase and put a financial burden on individuals and families alike," he told Sinar recently.

Based on statistics from the Statistics Department (DOSM), out of a total of 79,076 heart patients in the country in 2022, a total of 7,465 people were patients aged 40 years and below.

The number increased compared to 2021, which was from the total number of 79,076 patients, a total of 6,578 people were in the age group.

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Zainal Ariffin said among other factors that contribute to the problem of heart disease was unhealthy lifestyle such as smoking or eating too much fast food.

He said nowadays teenagers are less likely to do any physical activity and cannot do regular health checkups.

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