INCIDENTS of kidney disease continue to rise in the Philippines, the Department of Health's Renal Disease Control Program in Davao Region said.

The number is growing so fast such that records from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) show that dialysis patients are now the number one in terms of accounts served by Philhealth, outranking childbirth that has been number one for decades past.

Davao kidney specialist consultant Dr. Franklin Guillano earlier cited a report from Philippine Renal Disease Registry that around 1,000 patients in Davao Region are undergoing a maintenance dialysis mostly from Davao City.

Redcop spokesperson Dr. Maria Theresa Lorenzo Bad-ang said there is an increase of 15 percent of people diagnosed with kidney disease based on a data from the Philippine Renal Disease Registry in 2013 as compared to 2012.

Bad-ang said that in 2013, 14,395 new patients had to have dialysis, for a total of 23,364 patients nationwide. In 2012, the new patients numbered 12,500.

In Davao City, 800 kidney disease cases have been recorded of which 20 have undergone kidney transplant.

It was also reported that Davao Region ranks number four in the number of kidney patients nationwide as of 2014. On the top spot is the National Capital Region followed by Region 4, and then the Bicol Region at third place.

Davao City Council Committee on Health chairperson Councilor Joselle Villafuerte emphasized that early prevention is much better, as she recommends a healthy lifestyle, proper food intake, and adequate intake of water.

The health officers also raised the importance in controlling the three major causes of the kidney disease: diabetes, hypertension, and chronic glomerulonephritis.

On top of the list to be removed from one's diet to prevent kidney diseases are junk food and soft drinks. Both children and adults are encouraged to undergo annual urinalysis.