Icon - Are your kidneys ok?

Are your kidneys ok?

To live a good strong life it’s important to keep your kidneys healthy. Your risk of getting kidney disease increases if you:

  • have diabetes
  • have high blood pressure
  • have had a heart attack or a stroke
  • are overweight (waist size too big)
  • are a smoker
  • have had lots of infections
  • have family with sick kidneys
  • were a smaller than average baby.

Here are some tips about each of those health conditions.


High sugar levels can damage your kidneys. If you have diabetes, take your medication to keep your blood sugar normal. Eat healthy foods and be active.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure levels can damage your kidneys. If your blood pressure is too high, take your medication every day to keep the blood pressure levels down. Eat healthy foods and be active.

Heart attack or stroke

If you’ve ever had a heart attack or a stroke, then these conditions are referred to as cardiovascular disease. A history of cardiovascular disease significantly increases your risk of developing kidney disease, so try and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Being overweight

You can tell if you’re overweight if your waist size is too big. For women, that means the waist measures more than 80 centimetres. For men it’s more than 94 centimetres. Being overweight increases your risk of having sick kidneys and other health problems. You can lose weight and reduce your waist size by being more active every day.


People who smoke are three times more likely to have reduced kidney function, and have a four to five times greater risk of heart attack and stroke. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do, quit!


If you’ve had many infections, such as boils, scabies, infected feet, bad teeth, coughs or colds, you may be more at risk of kidney disease. Be sure to treat infections quickly. You can get good advice about this from your health clinic.

Family with sick kidneys

If your blood kin have had sick kidneys, diabetes or heart problems, your risk of getting kidney disease is greater. Ask your doctor for a Kidney Health Check.

Small at birth

Small babies are more likely to have sick kidneys in their lifetime. For a baby to be born a good size, the mother needs to be healthy by eating well and not smoking before and after getting pregnant.

If you have any of these health conditions, or are worried that you may be at increased risk of kidney disease, please go to your doctor or health clinic for advice.

You can also phone our Kidney Health Information Service on freecall 1800 454 363 or email khis@kidney.org.au


To share this information with your family and community, you can download the poster here.



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