Media Release

Awareness of Kidney Disease in Australia remains low


Kidney Health Australia

Kidney Health logo

Despite surveys showing one in seven Australians having some form of kidney disease, the community awareness of kidney disease and its causes remains at a low level. Even people with diabetes and high blood pressure are frequently unaware of their risk of kidney disease and remain untested, Kidney Health Australia said today.

Kidney Health Australia has launched a national awareness campaign to coincide with Kidney Health Week which includes a national television advertisement and an interactive website

Anne Wilson,CEO and Managing Director of Kidney Health Australia said dialysis is expanding at 6% a year (50 people per week) and is the most common reason for hospital admissions.

Ms Wilson said because people can lose 90% of the use of their kidneys without experiencing any warning signs, Chronic Kidney Disease is a silent and deadly disease.

"Chronic Kidney Disease is increasing and has become a significant cause of death. In 2008, diseases of the kidney and urinary system were the 10th leading cause of death in Australia with 3,224 deaths - more than breast cancer, suicide, and skin cancer or road accidents.

"There are over 18,000 Australians currently being treated for end stage kidney disease - dialysis or transplantation."

Ms Wilson said with only 5% of the 10,000 people on dialysis lucky enough to receive a kidney transplant each year, most will never have that opportunity.

"The number of people on dialysis is projected to double to 20,000 by the year 2020," Ms Wilson said.

Dr Tim Matthew, Medical Director of Kidney Health said whilst there is no known cure for Chronic Kidney Disease we do know how to intervene, and treat the disease to delay or stop patients kidneys failing, we just need to make sure people are more aware of the risks and get their kidneys checked.

"The risk factors include inadequate physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco smoking and obesity all contributing to high blood pressure and diabetes."

Dr Mathew said Kidney Disease is growing at an alarming rate and there is a need for the government to be far more pro-active in encouraging GPs to test patients in high risk categories.

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Media Enquiries:
Anne Wilson, CEO & Managing Director, Kidney Health Australia Mobile: 0400 165 391
Dr Tim Mathew, Medical Director, Kidney Health Australia Mobile: 0416 149 863
Ron Smith, National Media Communications, Kidney Health Australia Mobile: 0417 329 201