This week is Kidney Health Week. It is a week organised by Kidney Health Australia and renal doctors, nurses and patients to raise awareness and improve understanding about chronic kidney disease and what to do to avoid this truly dreadful condition.
One in seven Australians, or over three million of us, have some level of impaired kidney function. Chronic kidney disease is one of the fastest-growing diseases and unfortunately some 50 Australians will die today and every other day this year as a result of kidney related disease. This is more than from breast cancer or prostate cancer, yet very few of us are aware of this silent killer.
It is called that as people can lose 90 per cent of their kidney function before realising that they are sick. By that stage it is just too late, and only dialysis or a transplant will keep them alive. Over 10,500 Australians are now on dialysis, and anyone who has been to a dialysis unit knows it is a terrible way to live. However, early detection and early treatment can slow down kidney disease, save lives and reduce the need for dialysis. So during Kidney Health Week I encourage everyone to get their kidneys checked out by their GP. A simple blood test is all that is involved.