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Top 3 "Silent Killer" Disease in Malaysia

Malaysia is a multicultural and multi-ethnic country with different types of traditional culture, religion, food and cuisine, and lifestyles. In addition, Malaysia is known as a “food paradise” with many delicious foods, including Nasi Lemak, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Roti Canai, Teh Tarik and so on. However, it cannot be denied that most of the causes of “silent killer” disease in Malaysia are widely due to the diet and food intake of the victims and bad lifestyles. Along with the growth of the age, the “silent killer” disease may gradually appear on someone caused by an unhealthy lifestyle such as smoking and drinking, improper eating habits, insufficient sleep and lack of exercise.

(source: Department of Statistic Malaysia)


Based on the Department of Statistic Malaysia, the people aged 65 and above occupied 7 per cent in Malaysia with around 2.3 million elderly in 2020. Most of the elderly die from health issues and diseases due to unhealthy life at a younger age. There are 5 “silent killer” diseases that lead to the cause of death in Malaysian elderly, with no particular order.


1. Ischaemic Heart Disease / Coronary Heart Disease

(source: Pixabay)


Based on the Cause of Death in Malaysia released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, ischaemic heart disease ranks as the top principal cause of death in Malaysia with 15.6 per cent in 2018. Ischaemic heart disease can be also known as coronary heart disease, or the name we often call heart disease. The heart helps us to send blood with oxygen and nutrients throughout our bodies. In this process, the blood will go through the coronary arteries in order to supply the blood with oxygen and nutrients to our heart.


When the blockage of the coronary arteries occurs in the heart due to the build-up of cholesterol inside the arteries, it reduces the supply of blood to our heart. More seriously is that the cells of the heart muscle will start to die if the blood flow to the heart is completely blocked and possibly causing death. This is how ischaemic heart diseases happen to people.

How to prevent heart disease?

In order to lower the risk of heart attack, you should maintain a balanced diet by eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, plant-based protein, lean animal proteins and fish. You should limit yourself to consume refined carbohydrates, processed meats and sweetened drinks. Moreover, you can do exercise regularly such as aerobic exercise to lower cholesterol. You should also learn what is the sign of heart attack so that this problem could be discovered and treated early.




2. Cerebrovascular Disease

(source: Verywell Health)

Based on the Cause of Death in Malaysia released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, cerebrovascular disease ranks as the third principal cause of death in Malaysia with 7.8 per cent in 2018. Cerebrovascular disease is also known as stroke, it happens when the blood flow to the brain is poor, causing cell death.

It consists of two main types of stroke, including ischaemic stroke due to lack of blood flow and haemorrhagic due to bleeding in the brain. It may cause part of the brain to stop functioning properly. Hence, they are unable to move or feel on one side of the body, have problems understanding or speaking, have dizziness, or loss of vision to one side. What’s worse is that a large stroke occurs in a part of the brain vital to breathing or the heart, it can lead to death in a short time. A stroke can happen to someone who:

  • ​are overweight or having obesity

  • lack of physical activity

  • have high blood pressure

  • have high cholesterol

  • have diabetes

  • have heart disease

  • have smoking

​Stroke can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle and treatment of certain medical conditions. You should maintain a healthy weight and balanced diet and do exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes per day. Bad habits such as smoking should be avoided. Also, you can seek help from doctors to treat diseases, including high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.




3. Alzheimer’s Disease

(source: News Medical)

Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over time. Alzheimer’s disease is the cause of 60% to 80% of cases of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease will only devastate the brain, it does not kill people. However, the complications of the decline in brain function are the factors that lead to death. There is no definite answer to explain the cause of Alzheimer’s disease and the way to cure it, but medical treatments to temporarily reduce the symptoms are available.


The most common early symptoms of this disease include difficulty in remembering recent events. The symptoms will become more and more as the disease advances, such as problems with language, disorientation, mood swings, loss of motivation, not managing self-care and behavioural issues. There are several risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease, including a history of head injuries, depression, hypertension, and genetics.


Before the disease gets worse, it can be prevented through your lifestyle and habit. Since cardiovascular disease links with the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, you can follow the way to prevent this disease above.

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