Don't let kidney disease sneak up on you

Simple online test could determine your risk of developing kidney disease

Around the States
Shane went from feeling pretty fit and active to being extremely ill withi 12 months.

Shane went from feeling pretty fit and active to being extremely ill withi 12 months.

Aa

Simple online test could determine if you are at risk of developing kidney disease.

Aa

A simple online test could determine if you are at risk of developing kidney disease.

One in three Australians is at risk of kidney disease, and early detection is vital as it can slow, and in some cases halt, progression of the disease.

Chronic kidney disease sees a gradual but progressive decrease in kidney function to a point where the kidneys are unable to sustain life. Eearly diagnosis is often missed as 90 per cent of kidney function can be lost before visible symptoms appear.

The leading risk factors for chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure, which together cause more than half of kidney disease in Australia. Other risk factors, including smoking, obesity and acute kidney injury, can also lead to kidney disease.

Because early detection is so vital, Australians are being encouraged to complete Kidney Health Australia's simple online risk test, to find out if they are at risk and take action by seeking a kidney health check from their GP.

Kidney Health Australia chief executive Chris Forbes said a new campaign, #nofilter, was particularly targeting the 1.5 million peoples unaware they are already living with the early markers of kidney disease.

"The real danger with kidney disease is it's an insidious disease where people can be on the brink of kidney failure before they suspect anything is wrong," Mr Forbes said.

"Early treatment ... has been shown to slow the progression of the disease, with lifestyle modification a key strategy in managing the disease."

For father of five Shane, a routine check at his GP picked up very high blood pressure, which eventually led to a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease in 2013. Because he wasn't experiencing any symptoms in the earlier stages of his kidney disease, it was a huge shock when he was told his kidney function was only 6 per cent in early 2019.

Now on life-saving dialysis four days a week, the 48-year-old says he wasn't aware until too late that he could have done more to manage his diagnosis.

"Because things were okay for so long after I was diagnosed, I didn't think I needed to do anything else, but it can hit you so quickly," he said. "Within 12 months, I went from feeling pretty fit and active to being extremely ill and not being able to get out of bed."

Early detection could also aid in decreasing the exorbitant treatment costs associated with kidney failure, which costs more than $1 billion a year. For each Australian that avoids dialysis, $70,000-$100,000 is saved from the health budget per annum.

"The most effective step we can take in protecting people at risk of kidney disease is to shift the focus to preserving their kidney health through early detection measures, instead of replacement therapies that limit their quality of life and still leave them vulnerable to contracting other illnesses," Mr Forbes said.

Take the kidney risk test HERE

Kidney disease facts:

63 people every day die with kidney disease in Australia; that's one person dying every 23 minutes.

Kidney disease accounts for 11 per cent of deaths across the country in a year.

Kidney-related disease kills more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer and road accidents.

Of the staggering 1.7 million people with signs of kidney disease, 1.5 million are not aware they have it.

One in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have indicators of chronic kidney disease and are almost four times more likely to die from chronic kidney disease than the non-Indigenous population.

Aa