Kidney Disease
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Kidney Disease

The information below is courtesy of Kidney Health Australia. Visit the Kidney Health Australia website for more information.


What is Kidney Disease?


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) means your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood the way they should, and wastes and fluids can build up inside the body.

Kidney Disease Statistics


  • Around 1.7 million Australians aged 18 years and over (one in every ten adults) have signs of chronic kidney disease.

Kidney Disease Risk Factors


Adult Australians are at an increased risk of chronic kidney disease if they:


  • have diabetes
  • have high blood pressure
  • have established heart problems (heart failure or heart attack) or have had a stroke
  • have a family history of kidney failure
  • are obese with a body mass index (BMI) 30 or higher
  • are a smoker
  • are 60 years or older
  • are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin
  • have a history of acute kidney injury.


Kidney Disease Symptoms


Chronic kidney disease is called a ‘silent disease’ as there are often no warning signs.


It is not uncommon for people to lose up to 90 per cent of their kidney function before getting any symptoms.


There are, however, some signs that may indicate reduced kidney function and it’s important to take note of them. These can include:


  • high blood pressure
  • changes in the amount and number of times urine is passed
  • changes in the appearance of your urine (for example, frothy or foaming urine)
  • blood in your urine
  • puffiness in your legs, ankles or around your eyes
  • pain in your kidney area
  • tiredness
  • loss of appetite
  • difficulty sleeping
  • headaches
  • lack of concentration
  • itching
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea and vomiting
  • bad breath and a metallic taste in your mouth
  • muscle cramps
  • pins and needles in your fingers or toes.


These symptoms are very general and may be caused by other illnesses. However, if they are related to kidney disease they may gradually worsen as kidney function declines.


Kidney Disease Prevention


Some key recommendations are:


  • Get your blood pressure checked regularly.
  • If you have diabetes make sure you monitor your blood glucose levels and stay within your targets.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Stop Smoking – people who smoke are 3 times more likely to have reduced kidney function.
  • Eat well – Eat more fruit, vegetables, legumes and wholegrain bread and rice. Eat less meat, dairy and junk food. Limit sugar, salt and saturated fats.
  • Exercise regularly – aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week as exercise leads to increased strength, stamina and energy.
  • Drink plenty of water every day. Limit alcohol intake.
  • Enjoy life – reduce stress, do the things you love and spend more time with people whose company you enjoy.


Kidney Disease Treatment


Treatment may vary depending on the stage and cause of your kidney disease. Learn more about your options.