Kidney diseases cost the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme the most last year, at a total annual cost of NT$48.3 billion (US$1.6 billion), the latest NHI data show.
Statistics released by the NHI Administration show the five diseases responsible for most NHI expenditure are acute kidney failure and chronic kidney diseases (NT$48.3 billion), followed by oral, salivary gland and jaw bone diseases (NT$41.3 billion), diabetes (NT$26.4 billion), upper respiratory infectious diseases (NT$26.1 billion) and hypertensive diseases (NT$22.2 billion).
The number of patients with acute kidney failure and chronic kidney diseases reached more than 320,000 last year, including more than 85,000 people who required dialysis, reported The Taipei Times.
Taiwan Society of Nephrology president Lu Kuo-cheng said that the dialysis prevalence is about 3,300 per million in Taiwan. Patients in Taiwan are often on dialysis for many years and relatively few receive kidney transplants, he added.
Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital nephrologist Yen Tzung-hai said that the high incidence of kidney disease in Taiwan is mainly due to an aging society, changes in dietary habits and many patients with chronic diseases not following their doctors’ instructions.