Diabetes Mellitus in Malaysia

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Malaysia is among the current developing Asian countries with diversity of cultures and society. The diversity causes the creation of various foods and delicacies which are high in calories. This condition has led to unhealthy eating patterns among people in Malaysia.

What is diabetes mellitus (DM)?

In DM, there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood as a result of insufficient or ineffective insulin. It is caused by the deficiency in the hormone insulin, which is made by the pancreas. By facilitating the transfer of glucose from the bloodstream into the body’s cells, insulin regulates the level of glucose in the body. Diabetes prevents glucose from entering body cells, so it builds up in the blood and causes high blood glucose levels. There are two types of DM, mainly Type 1 & 2.

Prevalence of diabetes in Western Pacific

What is the difference between type 1 and 2?

Type 1 diabetes is a genetic illness that frequently manifests in childhood, your immune system attacks and kills the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas when you have type 1 diabetes.  Type 2 diabetes is primarily connected to lifestyle choices and develops over time usually in adulthood.

Current statistics and how common is it?

Diabetes prevalence varies between nations and localities. The Ministry of Health (MOH) have stated that the prevalence rate of diabetes in adults has increased significantly in Malaysia from 13.4% in 2015 to 18.3% in 2019. Type 2 diabetes is often diagnosed in adults, however given the global obesity pandemic, children are also found to be prone to diabetes.

A study that focuses on the prevalence of type-2 diabetes and prediabetes in Malaysia in 2022 shows that with a prevalence of 31.3%, diabetes is anticipated to affect 7 million Malaysian adults aged 18 and over by 2025, putting a significant risk to the public’s health. The expense of diabetes in Malaysia, which has one of the highest rates in the world and costs over million annually, is the highest in the Western Pacific area. This shows the increase in people who had diabetes in recent years.

Diabetes mellitus in Malaysia statistics that was published by Health Director General, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in 2020

What can we conclude from this?

Based on the statistics given, we can see that there is a high chance for us to get diabetes. We should take care of our lifestyle and practice eating healthy foods. Monitoring your glucose level is very important to ensure the level is not too high and as a preventive measure to check on your current eating habits whether it’s good for you or you should change it.


  1. Akhtar, S., Nasir, J. A., Ali, A., Asghar, M., Majeed, R., & Sarwar, A. (2022). Prevalence of type-2 diabetes and prediabetes in Malaysia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS ONE, 17(1), e0263139. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0263139
  2. Diabetes – Symptoms and causes. (2022, October 25). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371444
  3. Diabetes UK. (n.d.). Differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Retrieved October 28, 2022, from https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/differences-between-type-1-and-type-2-diabetes
  4. Ministry of Health Malaysia. (2012). Diabetes Mellitus. MyHEALTH. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/diabetes-mellitus/

Dr Awam

Dr Awam

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