Heart attack remains the leading cause of death in Malaysia for the 14th year and it was the principal cause of death for males in Malaysia with 12,510 deaths (17.8%) while for females, the principal cause of death was pneumonia with 6,033 deaths (12.8%).
This was revealed in a report from the Department of Statistics Malaysia on the latest causes of death in the country.
The report says last year, 172,031 total deaths from various causes were recorded or an increase of 2.3% compared to 168,168 in 2017.
Urban areas recorded 12,101 cases, double that in rural areas (6,166 cases), it said.
Meanwhile, pneumonia was the principal cause of death in 48 administrative districts with the highest percentage recorded in Kota Setar, Kedah (17.8%).
The number of deaths due to ischaemic heart diseases in Malaysia in 2010 was 9,371 and the figures increased gradually through the years. The jump increased more prominently from 2016 to 2017 (13.9%) and from 2017 to 2018 (15.6%).
According to deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye, the increase in heart disease is attributed to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, as well as obesity and unhealthy diets and lifestyles.
In January, Dr Lee said, “The increase in the ageing population also contributed to the increase in the number of heart patients. With a longer life expectancy, continuous treatment will be required.
“By 2040, it is estimated that the population of Malaysians aged 65 and above will exceed six million, which is 14.5% of the total population. This means the burden of coronary heart disease is expected to multiply in the near future,” he said at the opening of the Tung Shin Hospital Cardiac Care Service Centre yesterday. -/TISG