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Chronic diseases dominate death stats: MHW

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) yesterday announced the latest cause of death statistics, and chronic diseases take up seven spots on the top-10 list for 2013.

According to the MHW, since the aging of the population in Taiwan has intensified, more people than ever before are dying from chronic diseases.

The MHW said that out of every 100 people, 64 die from chronic diseases like diabetes or hypertension.

According to the MHW, the average time between deaths, the annual number of people who died from cancer and the difference between the average lifespan of both sexes all reached record highs in 2013.

The total number of deaths recorded last year was 154,374, translating into one death every 3 minutes and 24 seconds; the average death rate in 2012 was one per every 3 minutes and 25 seconds.

The MHW said that cancer has been the number one cause of death for 32 years straight, and a total of 44,791 died from cancers, which suggests that one cancer patient passed away every 11 minutes and 44 seconds.

The 10 leading causes of death in 2013 were cancer, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, pneumonia, accidents, lower respiratory illness, hypertensive disease, chronic liver disease and nephrotic syndrome and nephritis.

Compared to the 10 leading causes of death 10 years ago, the MHW said, the rankings for heart disease, pneumonia and hypertensive disease soared dramatically while the rankings for nephrotic syndrome and nephritis and chronic liver disease dropped as a result of new advanced medical treatments for those diseases.

To further analyze common causes of death, the MHW said that the main cause of death for children under the age of 14 is cancer; the main cause for people between the ages of 15 and 24 is accident; and for people over the age of 25, the main cause of death is cancer.

In general, according to the MHW, about 64.2 percent of people who died last year died from the seven chronic diseases that are included in the 10 leading causes of death.

Wu Chien-yuan (吳建遠), division chief of the Bureau of National Health Promotion's Cancer Control and Prevention Division, said that nearly 70 percent of people who passed away last year were people over 65 years old.

Wu said that compared to young people, elders have a higher likelihood of suffering from cancers, which means that as people age, their risk of cancer increases.

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