PETALING JAYA - In 2006, Abu Hassan Johari was told that something was wrong with his kidney but he did not think much of it.
"I was not put on any medication then and I forgot about it, I did not go for further checks because I was too caught up with work," Abu Hassan told The Star.
Three years later, a fever transformed the life of the 47 year-old when doctors diagnosed him with chronic kidney disease.
Abu Hassan never expected his doctor to inform him that his kidneys had shrunk and he had to start dialysis treatment immediately.
He had learnt the hard way the importance of going for regular health screenings and of paying attention to the warning signs.
The father of five who previously worked for the Government in a contractual position now runs a small business selling nasi lemak and does occasional tailoring at his sister's shop.
"When I was diagnosed, I was lucky because I could apply for Sosco's invalidity pension.
"A year after my diagnosis, I took up a sewing course offered by Socso for additional income.
"My doctor told me not to work in a stressful environment so I am running my own business and helping my sister . At least that way I can get extra income," he said.
Abu Hassan said the diagnosis has not stopped him from moving on with his life.
His usual routine starts as early as 3am daily when he and his wife begin to prepare nasi lemak and other dishes for his stall in Seremban.
"I am usually done by 9am, then I go ahead to make preparations for the next day. I pick up my children from school on days I do not go for my dialysis," he said.
His dialysis treatment is three times a week and he spends at least six hours there on each trip.
He advised people to take good care of their health by eating right and going for regular check ups.
"It is pointless to control your diet after you have fallen ill. Healthy people, especially those after the age of 40 must be careful with their food and must go for regular check ups," he said.
Azrul Abd Manap, 55 was at home when he suffered a stroke three years ago. The attack left the linen operator at a private hospital weak on his right hand.
Azrul who has three grown children now goes for physiotherapy twice a month to regain his strength for his hand.
"When I had the stroke, my hands were weak and shivered. "Now I am much better but my right hand is weak so it takes some time when I use my hand," he said.
He said after the stroke, he is more careful with his food and does exercise whenever he can.
"People must eat right and go for regular medical check ups. It is important," advised Azrul.