Chronic kidney disease in Australia

Chronic kidney disease is a significant and growing public health issue, responsible for a substantial burden of illness and premature mortality.

Here are some important facts about the disease.

Less than 10 per cent of people with chronic kidney disease are aware they have the condition1/2 which means more than 1.5 million are unaware they have indicators of the disease.

One in three Australians is at an increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease3.

More than 40 per cent of people over the age of 75 have an indicator of chronic kidney disease1.

People with chronic kidney disease have a two to three-fold greater risk of cardiac death than people without the disease4.

For people with the disease, the risk of dying from cardiovascular events is 20 times greater than the risk of requiring dialysis or transplantation5.

A person can lose up to 90 per cent of their kidney function before experiencing any symptoms

Diabetes and high blood pressure are two of the most common causes of chronic kidney disease.

If chronic kidney disease is detected early and managed appropriately, then the otherwise inevitable deterioration in kidney function can be reduced by as much as 50 per cent and may even be reversible6.

Other statistics about many aspects of chronic kidney disease in Australia, from the numbers of people receiving treatment, to the cost to our healthcare system, are provided in our Fast Facts fact sheet, which you can download here. 


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013. Australian Health Survey: Biomedical Results for Chronic Diseases, 2011-12. ABS, Canberra

  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012. Australian health survey: First results 2011-12. Report No. 4364.0.55.001. ABS, Canberra

  3. Chadban SJ, Briganti EM, Kerr PG et al 2003. Prevalence of kidney damage in Australian adults: The AusDiab kidney study. J Am Soc Nephrol July14 (7 Suppl 2): S131-S138

  4. Foley RN, Parfrey PS, Sarnak MJ 1998. Clinical epidemiology of cardiovascular disease in chronic renal disease. Am J Kidney Dis; 32:S112-S119

  5. Keith DS, Nichols GA, Gullion CM, Brown JB, Smith DH 2004. Longitudinal follow-up and outcomes among a population with chronic kidney disease in a large managed care organization. Arch Intern Med, March 22; 164(6):659-63

  6. Johnson DW 2004. Evidence-based guide to slowing the progression of early renal insufficiency. Intern Med J, January; 34(1-2):50-7



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