What you need to know about your kidneys

What you need to know about your kidneys

Every day, 56 Australians die with kidney-related disease. “The kidneys are vital organsjust like the heart, brain or lungif they shut down, your body shuts down” said Anne Wilson, CEO Kidney Health Australia.

It’s crucial to get our kidneys checked every 12 months but the general population is unaware of the critical role they play in our overall health. Every year, Kidney Health Australia organises a national awareness week urging all Australians to meet their kidneys! This Kidney health week, 24 – 30 May, focuses on introducing Australians to their kidneys.

Kidney health week 2015

In 2015, the awareness week focuses on introducing Australians to their kidneys and educating them about the role they play including their vital function of regulating blood pressure. A range of activities are planned and will be announced on Kidney Health Australia’s social media channels.  Kidney Health Australia encourages each of us to spread the word, share our story and organise fundraising events. You can download promotional material here: promotion pack.

Kidney disease symptoms and risk factors

1 in 3 Australians is at risk of kidney disease. Undetected, untreated kidney disease is a silent killer. There are no warning signs; we can lose up to 90% of our kidney function before we feel any symptoms. The symptoms of reduced kidney function may include:

  • high blood pressure
  • changes in the amount and number of times urine is passed, e.g. at night
  • changes in the appearance of urine
  • blood in the urine
  • puffiness e.g. legs and ankles
  • pain in the 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 the mouth

You are at increased risk of chronic kidney disease if you:

  • have diabetes
  • have high blood pressure
  • have established heart problems (heart failure or heart attack) and/or have had a stroke
  • have a family history of kidney disease
  • are obese  are a smoker
  • are 60 years or older
  • are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin