Naluri’s Health Risk Assessment is a high-level assessment based on our users’ self-declared input factors. It is meant to provide information for our health coaches to start a conversation on how we can help to initiate healthy lifestyle changes. It is not meant to be a replacement for a more comprehensive health risk assessment based on medical analysis that takes into account more specific physiological and lifestyle factors.
The factors used to form the Naluri health risk assessment have been validated by the Malaysian Ministry of Health. The principal factor used to determine health risk is based on the user’s Body Mass Index, which is derived from the user’s height and weight. We use data from the 2015 Malaysian Health and Morbidity Study compiled by the Ministry of Health, where the prevalence rates (likelihood) of chronic disease factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetic blood sugar levels across the Malaysian adult population.
Other adjusting factors include gender, age, family history of chronic disease, and level of physical activity, to classify risk probability for each of the following four user risk profiles:
LOW RISK: 10-25% probability of developing chronic disease symptoms
MEDIUM RISK: 25-40% probability of developing chronic disease symptoms
HIGH RISK: 40-55% probability of developing chronic disease symptoms
VERY HIGH RISK: > 55% probability of developing chronic disease symptoms
A young user who is physically active, maintains a healthy diet and leads a stress-free life may still develop chronic illnesses, although his or her probability is low. Lifestyle only represents some of the contributing factors. There are also genetic factors that play a part, and unfortunately, in Malaysia, there are common genetic predispositions towards chronic illnesses.
According to the Ministry of Health study, over 9.6 million adult Malaysians (48%) have hypercholesterolemia (total blood cholesterol of over 5.2 mmol/litre). A significant majority, over 7.8 million of this group are undiagnosed, which means they were not aware that they had high cholesterol.
Hypercholesterolemia indicates an imbalance of fat in your bloodstream. You either have too little “good cholesterol” (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL), too much “bad cholesterol” (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL), or too much triglycerides, which are fats found in foods. This imbalance may cause plaque build-up in your arteries, which raises your risk of heart attack or heart disease.
According to the Ministry of Health study, over 6.1 million adult Malaysians (30%) have hypertension (systolic blood pressure of 140mmHg or more and/or diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or more). A majority, over 3.1 million are undiagnosed, which means they were not aware that they had high blood pressure.
Hypertension indicates higher than normal pressure in your blood vessels. Your heart-beat and the flexibility of your arteries creates this pressure. When blood pressure is high, the heart has to work harder to pump blood and circulate it throughout your body. This additional strain can put you at risk for heart diseases.
According to the Ministry of Health study, over 3.5 million adult Malaysians (18%) have diabetes (fasting capillary blood glucose (FBG) of 6.1 mmol/L or more (or non-fasting blood glucose of more than 11.1 mmol/L). A majority, over 1.9 million are undiagnosed, which means they were not aware that they had diabetic-levels of blood sugar.
At these sugar levels, a person is diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes, which means that your blood sugar levels are high due to low insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone that helps to move glucose out of your bloodstream and on to other parts of the body to use as energy. When you body does not process insulin well, that sugar remains in the bloodstream, and body cells begin to starve without sufficient energy, which leads to many of health complications.
Besides Hypercholesterolemia, Hypertension and Diabetes, there are other chronic diseases where risks can be reduced from healthier lifestyle changes. These include some forms of stroke and cancer. Mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety, can also be better controlled through the healthy lifestyles that Naluri advocates with diet, exercise, stress management, and self-care.