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Calls to act on kidney disease

Only one in four adults with kidney disease has been diagnosed and demand for kidney transplants and dialysis is expected to soar, health body warns.

About 1.3 million Australian adults are unaware they are living with kidney disease, according to Kidney Health Australia.

National medical director, Dr Tim Mathew said about 1.7 million people over the age of 25 had kidney disease but it was estimated only one quarter of those had been diagnosed.

Mathew said high blood pressure and cholesterol seemed to be prevalent in people with kidney disease, but that did not account entirely for the increased risk.

He said other factors affected the way blood vessels worked and made people with kidney disease more susceptible to heart attack and stroke.

The number of Australians needing kidney transplants and dialysis is expected to soar in the next decade as the ageing population means more people are likely to develop end-stage kidney disease.

However the number of diabetics with the condition is also on the rise.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has forecast the proportion of diabetics undergoing transplants or dialysis would rise to 64 per cent in 2020 from 45 per cent in 2009.

The total number of Australians being treated for end-stage kidney disease is forecast to rise by up to 80 per cent to about 4300 in the coming decade.

He said anyone with diabetes, high blood pressure, smokers, or who was obese or with a family history of kidney disease should be checked.

People over the age of 60, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and those with a history of heart attacks were also at greater risk.

Currently more than 10,500 Australians receive dialysis and 1100 are waiting for a transplant.


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