Diabetes has ranked as the fifth-leading cause of deaths in the nation in recent years, the Bureau of National Health Insurance said yesterday, adding that the disease can lead to blindness, limb amputations and uremia, seriously compromising diabetics’ quality of life.
Therefore, the bureau encouraged diabetics to have regular health checks to help control and reduce complications from the disease, adding that it regularly disseminates information about diabetes to medical facilities.
A difficult-to-treat chronic illness, diabetes has the potential to devastate blood vessels of the entire human circulatory system, the bureau said. However, through regular examinations, intervention and treatment, progress of the disease can be slowed and late-stage complications delayed.
Based on clinical guidelines for the management of diabetes and feedback from medical experts, the bureau said it has selected four measures to act as indicators for the quality of diabetes care. These are monitoring of blood-sugar levels, cholesterol, kidney function and eye examinations.
The bureau’s latest data show that last year, about 1.3 million people were living with diabetes in Taiwan, and while the number of people taking the indicator tests has been rising in recent years, with 90 percent of them taking the blood-sugar test and 75 percent the cholesterol test last year, the percentages of diabetics who have undergone kidney function check-ups and eye examinations are not as impressive, at about 40 percent and 30 percent respectively.
As a result, the bureau advised people with diabetes and primary care physicians to pay more attention to cholesterol, kidney and eye examinations as it seeks to improve the wellbeing of those with the disease.