High kidney failure rate in Singapore

PHOTO: High kidney failure rate in Singapore

SINGAPORE - Singapore has the fifth highest rate of kidney failure in the world, with 279 people per million of population facing this life-threatening situation in 2012.

The top four, according to the United States Renal Data System, are Mexico (527), the United States (362), Taiwan (361) and Japan (295).

However, the seemingly high figure may not be cause to press the panic button.

Dr Terence Kee, director of the renal transplant programme at the Singapore General Hospital, cautioned that the ranking depends on the accuracy of the territories' reporting systems. Some might under-report, he said.

Patients with kidney failure require either a transplant or dialysis for the rest of their lives. At the end of 2012, there were 5,237 people here on dialysis.

In terms of transplants, Singapore does not make it to the list of top 30 places with the most transplants per million population, which include

Hong Kong, Malaysia and the Philippines.

In 2012, a total of 51 people received a kidney transplant, of whom 28 received one from a living relative. The remainder received their kidney from a dead donor.

Last year, 68 people received a transplant - 34 each from living and dead donors. By the end of last year, there were 424 people waiting for a transplant.

Uncontrolled diabetes is the main cause of kidney failure in Singapore, accounting for three in five cases.

Other causes include glomerulonephritis - a group of kidney diseases that cause inflammation and damage to the kidneys - as well as diseases that affect the body's immune system, such as lupus.

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