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Understanding
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Prevent

What your kidneys do

The role of the kidneys is often underrated when we think about our health.

In fact, the kidneys play a vital role in the daily workings of your body. They are so important that nature gave us two kidneys, to cover the possibility that one might be lost to an injury.


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regulates blood pressure
cleans blood
filters waste and toxins
balances water
activates vitamin d
drink water instead

Have a glass of
water instead!

The human body can last weeks without food but only days without fluid. Water is the recommended fluid to satisfy thirst – and it is nature's choice.

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QUESTION 1

Do you have Diabetes?

YES NO

Do you have Diabetes?

Yes

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease in Australia. It is caused by problems with the production and/or action of insulin, a hormone that controls the amount of sugar in your blood. With Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make enough insulin. With Type 2 diabetes, the body cannot use insulin efficiently. Around one-third of people who require dialysis or a kidney transplant also have diabetes.

Steps to take

  • Ensure your insulin levels and diabetic control is excellent.
  • Be aware of and maintain good blood pressure control.
  • Be a non-smoker – call QUIT on 13 78 48 and ask for a free Quit Pack.
  • Treat urine infections immediately.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.

Next

Do you have Diabetes?

No

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease in Australia. It is caused by problems with the production and/or action of insulin, a hormone that controls the amount of sugar in your blood. With Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make enough insulin. With Type 2 diabetes, the body cannot use insulin efficiently. Around one-third of people who require dialysis or a kidney transplant also have diabetes.

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QUESTION 2

Do you have high blood pressure?

YES NO

Do you have high blood pressure?

Yes

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways. High blood pressure affects the kidneys by putting more stress on the blood vessels throughout the body, including the kidney filters.

Steps to take

  • Be aware of and maintain good blood pressure control.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Lower your salt intake.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.

Next

Do you have high blood pressure?

No

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways. High blood pressure affects the kidneys by putting more stress on the blood vessels throughout the body, including the kidney filters.

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QUESTION 3

Do you smoke?

YES NO

Do you smoke?

Yes

People who smoke are three times more likely to have reduced kidney function than non-smokers. Smoking damages the kidneys by hardening the arteries and changing the blood circulation in the kidneys.

Steps to take

  • Be a non-smoker – call QUIT on 13 78 48 and ask for a free Quit Pack.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Next

Do you smoke?

No

People who smoke are three times more likely to have reduced kidney function than non-smokers. Smoking damages the kidneys by hardening the arteries and changing the blood circulation in the kidneys.

Next
QUESTION 4

Have you ever had a heart attack, a stroke, or been told you have heart failure?

YES NO

Have you ever had a heart attack, a stroke, or been told you have heart failure?

Yes

If you’ve ever had a heart attack, a stroke, or been told you have heart failure, then these conditions are referred to as cardiovascular disease. A history of cardiovascular disease significantly increases your risk of developing kidney disease.

Steps to take

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Next

Have you ever had a heart attack, a stroke, or been told you have heart failure?

No

If you’ve ever had a heart attack, a stroke, or been told you have heart failure, then these conditions are referred to as cardiovascular disease. A history of cardiovascular disease significantly increases your risk of developing kidney disease.

Next
QUESTION 5

Are you over 60 years of age?

YES NO

Are you over 60 years of age?

Yes

Steps to take

  • Maintain a positive ‘stay well’ attitude.
  • Do things to relax.
  • Reduce stress in your daily life.

Next

Are you over 60 years of age?

No

Next
QUESTION 6

Is there a family history of kidney failure?

YES NO

Is there a family history of kidney failure?

Yes

Kidney disease may run in families and even if only one person in a family has end stage kidney disease, all blood relatives should be tested. With early treatment, kidney disease can be slowed and dialysis or a transplant may be avoided.

Steps to take

  • Unsure? Ask family members about it.
  • Do a family health investigation.

Next

Is there a family history of kidney failure?

No

Kidney disease may run in families and even if only one person in a family has end stage kidney disease, all blood relatives should be tested. With early treatment, kidney disease can be slowed and dialysis or a transplant may be avoided.

Next
QUESTION 7

Are you overweight or obese?

YES NO

Are you overweight or obese?

Yes

Being obese increases your risk of developing kidney disease. The definition of obesity is having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. Your BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared (e.g., 1.75 metres x 1.75 metres equals 3.06 square metres).

Steps to take

Next

Are you overweight or obese?

No

Being obese increases your risk of developing kidney disease. The definition of obesity is having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. Your BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared (e.g., 1.75 metres x 1.75 metres equals 3.06 square metres).

Unsure about your BMI? Measure it with this online test.

Next
QUESTION 8

Are you of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?

YES NO

Are you of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?

Yes

The incidence of end stage kidney disease is almost nine times more common for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than non-Indigenous people. The greater prevalence of kidney disease in some Indigenous communities is partly due to the high incidence of traditional risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Steps to take

  • Unsure? Ask family members about it.
  • Do a family health investigation.
  • If you need assistance, ask a family history (genealogy) researcher.

Next

Are you of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?

No

The incidence of end stage kidney disease is almost nine times more common for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than non-Indigenous people. The greater prevalence of kidney disease in some Indigenous communities is partly due to the high incidence of traditional risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

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Results

Your results indicate that you may have one or more of the risk factors for developing chronic kidney disease. It is recommended that you visit your doctor for a kidney health check, which will typically include a blood test, urine test and blood pressure reading.

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for updates

If you'd like to work out your risk of developing moderate - severe kidney disease over the next five years, please click here for a more detailed questionnaire.

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kidney health check

Kidney Check
Program

Monitor for Kidney Disease at Home

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Kidney Cancer

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Kidney Disease

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