The Ultimate Guide to Better Health & Wealth (Millennial Edition) - Chapter 2

Top Diseases To Watch Out For In Your 20s & 30s


The health concerns of millennials have been put under the spotlight as new research shows that this generation is not as healthy as they think. A Moody’s Analytics report based on a US insurer’s data revealed that millennials’ health is declining faster than the previous generation.

Closer to home, Malaysian millennials are also showing signs of growing health problems, particularly those that are non-communicable in nature.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) refer to medical conditions that are non-infectious and non-transmissible from one person to another. However, they are often chronic, meaning diseases of long duration and generally slow progression.

The last National Health and Morbidity Survey uncovered some surprising details about millennial health:

  • 8.6% are diagnosed with diabetes
  • 14.7% are suffering from hypertension
  • 13.9% have been categorised as obese

According to the last national health survey, more young people are getting chronic diseases.

‘Unhealthy’ millennials

It stands to reason that Malaysian youths today growing up with better access to nutrition and healthcare should be healthier. But did you know that the number of patients aged between 18 and 40 years old being hospitalised have more than doubled in recent times?

These health problems if left unchecked may give rise to chronic diseases that can be life-threatening. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), diabetes can lead to complications such as heart attack and stroke. Meanwhile, common risk factors that many people are exposed to daily like tobacco smoke, air pollution and occupational chemicals can lead to respiratory diseases.

What are the top killer diseases in Malaysia?

The rise in the number of Malaysians suffering from suffering chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is worrying as this translates to ballooning healthcare costs in treating a growing number of chronically ill patients.

According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), the top killer diseases in Malaysia in 2018 are:

  • Heart disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Brain-related disease

Top Killer Diseases in Malaysia 2018

General PopulationMalaysian MaleMalaysian Female
Heart diseases15.60%17.80%12.20%
Cerebral diseases (e.g. stroke)7.80%7.20%8.70%

Some other killer diseases are respiratory diseases, breast cancer and diabetes.

In fact, it is safe to say that everyone of us knows someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure or have a family relation or acquaintance who has suffered a stroke.

NCDs are not only among the leading cause of death in Malaysia, but they are also very expensive to treat.

If you get diagnosed with a chronic illness in your 20s or 30s, the cost to treat the disease for the next 30 to 40 years of your life will be even more than someone who becomes ill later in life. This is because medical complications tend to develop in the later stages of these diseases.

Cost of treatments for chronic diseases in Malaysia

NCDs like high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes often give rise to complications in the later stages that may require expensive and invasive medical procedures.

For example, high blood pressure if left unchecked can cause heart attacks and strokes while diabetes, if left untreated can lead to kidney damage.

The cost of treating chronic diseases is getting more expensive every year. According to employee benefits consultancy and insurance broker, Mercer Marsh Benefits, medical costs in Malaysia saw a double-digit increase of 13.4% in 2019.

Here are the costs of treating these chronic diseases today:

Critical illnessCost of treatment
Heart attack (coronary angioplasty)RM17,554 – RM41,797
Stroke (procedure to remove blood clot in brain)RM40,000 to RM50,000
Kidney dialysisRM37,000 to RM39,000 per year
Breast cancerRM18,000 - RM395,000
Colon cancerRM25,000-RM85,000
Lung cancerRM45,000-RM56,000

What’s more, most of these NCDs are preventable with lifestyle changes and taking immediate action to address the condition when the early symptoms of the disease appear.

Don’t wait until you are sick

While we cannot avoid falling ill at some point in our life, we can always make a conscious effort towards a healthier lifestyle.

What if you can take charge of your health by using your smartphone?

Pulse by Prudential is an app that allows you to give yourself a health assessment, check for symptoms, arrange online doctor consultations, keep track of your fitness routine, and locate nearby clinics and hospitals.

Download Pulse by Prudential for free to assess your health now!


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