Background: The incidence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in Taiwan is the highest in the world. However, epidemiological features of earlier chronic kidney disease (CKD) have not been investigated.
Methods: Since implementation of the National Health Insurance Program in 1995, more than 96% of the population in Taiwan has been enrolled. A nationally representative cohort of 200,000 individuals randomly sampled from the National Health Insurance enrollees was followed up from 1996 to 2003. Clinical conditions were defined by using diagnostic codes. The prevalence and incidence of clinically recognized CKD were assessed. We also identified risk factors associated with the development of CKD.
Results: The prevalence of clinically recognized CKD increased from 1.99% in 1996 to 9.83% in 2003. The overall incidence rate during 1997 to 2003 was 1.35/100 person-years. The multivariate model indicates that age is a key predictor of CKD, with an odds ratio of 13.95 for the group aged 75-plus years compared with the group younger than 20 years. Other factors associated with increased risk for the development of CKD include diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and female sex.
Conclusion: The prevalence and incidence of CKD in Taiwan are relatively high compared with other countries. Our finding provides a reasonable explanation for the subsequent epidemic of ESRD in Taiwan. Further study is needed to identify the entire burden of CKD and the effectiveness of risk-factor modification.