KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: Cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer in Malaysia, with hypertension topping the list.
Malaysian Society of Hypertension vice-president Dr Azani Mohamed Daud said although hypertension was the most common disease in Malaysia, many were unaware they had it.
"Last year, only 35 per cent of people with hypertension were diagnosed, with the rest unaware they had it," he told the "Are you at risk?" campaign at a hotel yesterday.
The campaign was organised by the Heart Foundation of Malaysia and pharmaceutical manufacturer Xepa-Soul Pattinson Malaysia in conjunction with World Heart Day in September.
The foundation director, Datuk Dr Khoo Kah Lin, said it was cheaper to prevent the disease rather than to cure it.
He said there were two main approaches to prevent hypertension -- the polypill and polymeal concepts.
"These two methods can help reduce heart disease and stroke, and could prolong life," he said.
Polypill, in use since 2003, is a combination of six drugs and vitamins that address the risk factors of heart disease.
According to the British Medical Journal, taking the combination of pills daily lowers the risk of a heart attack by 88 per cent and stroke by 80 per cent.
Polymeal is a diet plan that includes red wine, dark chocolate, and fruit and vegetables that can reduce the number of patients with cardiovascular disease by 76 per cent.
"With the correct amounts each day, those who adapt these approaches when they reach 55 years old will see a positive outcome."
He urged people to consult their doctors on both methods, and said leaflets would be distributed with explanation on them.