Heart disease is number one killer among Malaysians

  • The number of individuals suffering from high cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia �� the major risk factor for cardiovascular disease �� rose from 20.7 per cent in 2006 to 35.1 per cent last year, according to the 2011 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS).
  • Today, we have 10 million Malaysians who have unhealthy cholesterol levels. One in three Malaysians are individual with high cholesterol.
  • One in five Malaysians are diabetic.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) survey in 2010 ranked Malaysia as sixth in Asia with the highest adult obesity rate.
  • These are all at increased risk of heart disease.

Cognizant of these dismal figures, Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) and Yayasan Jantung Malaysia (YJM) have initiated an awareness programme, The Heart 2012.


High Cholesterol - Risk Factors

Unhealthy cholesterol levels (high total cholesterol, low HDL, high LDL and high triglycerides) increase the risk for heart disease and heart attack. Here are some risk factors for high cholesterol.

Age and Gender. 
As women and men get older, their cholesterol levels rise. Before the age of menopause, women have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After the age of menopause, women's LDL levels tend to rise.

Family history.
If high cholesterol runs in your family, you may have it.

Lifestyle Factors

The primary dietary elements that lead to unhealthy cholesterol include saturated fats (found mainly in red meat, egg yolks, and high-fat dairy products) and trans fatty acids (found in fried foods and some commercial baked food products). Shellfish is also high in dietary cholesterol.

Being overweight or obese increases the risks for unhealthy cholesterol levels.

Lack of exercise can contribute to weight gain, decreases in HDL levels and increases in LDL and total cholesterol levels.

Smoking reduces HDL cholesterol and promotes build-up of fatty deposits in the coronary arteries

Other Medical Conditions

High Blood Pressure.
High blood pressure (hypertension) contributes to the thickening of the heart 's blood vessel walls, which can worsen atherosclerosis (accumulated deposits of cholesterol in the blood vessels.) High blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes all work together to increase the risk for developing heart disease.

Low thyroid levels (hypothyroidism) are associated with higher risk for high total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Treating the thyroid condition can significantly reduce cholesterol levels.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Women with this endocrine disorder may have increased risks for high triglyceride and low HDL levels.

Kidney Disease.
Kidney disease increases the risk of heart disease.