The number of chronic kidney patients in the country who have to undergo dialysis has increased from 79 per million population in 2000 to 146 per million in 2009, Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said recently.
He said that based on the National Renal Registry, the total number of patients on dialysis had grown from 6,689 in 2000 to 21,159 in 2009, putting a serious strain on Malaysia’s health resources.
“A whopping 58 per cent of these patients have diabetes and eight per cent have hypertension as the cause. This put Malaysia in the unenviable position of probably having the highest percentage of patients in the world with diabetes as the cause of end-stage kidney failure,” he said in his speech at the opening of the national-level World Kidney Day Run 2011 at Dataran Merdeka.
The text of his speech was read out by Medical Development Division Director Azmi Shafie.
National Kidney Foundation President Dr Zaki Morad Mohd Zaher and Malaysian Society of Nephrology President Dr Wong Hin Seng were alsopresent at the event.
Liow said the ministry did not have the actual number of patients suffering from the disease nor the number of new cases that occurred each year, but it was estimated that 10 per cent of the general population suffered from some degree of kidney diseases.
Meanwhile, Dr Zaki Morad said there was an estimated annual increase of between eight and 10 per cent of kidney patients in the country, mostly involving people aged 60 and above.
He said there was a great possibility of these elderly people, especially those suffering from diabetes, facing renal failure.
“Diabetes is the main cause of renal failure, If we can detect diabetes early, the incidence of renal failure can be reduced,” he said.
As such, he said, this group of people should adopt a healthy lifestyle and undergo screening to avert the chronic disease which would result in them having to spend much money for treatment.