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Supporting Indigenous kidney health

On World Kidney Day (26 March 2015), the prevalence of kidney disease in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community is highlighted, with 15.7 per cent of Queensland’s regular dialysis patients last year identifying as Indigenous.

Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young said management of kidney disease – and associated disorders such as diabetes and hypertension – depended on effective treatment as well as preventive actions.

"Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common risk factors for kidney disease," Dr Young said.

"Individually, we see that kidney disease, diabetes and high blood pressure are all linked to obesity, a critical health challenge for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.

"Queensland Health has a strong focus on closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health outcomes.

"While the 2014 Closing the Gap performance report noted an improvement in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Queensland, there is still progress to be made.

"To that end, we fund programs that provide accessible kidney health resources and treatment programs for people suffering from kidney disease. 

"For example, a recent partnership with the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health focuses on early detection and education for chronic diseases, including the Deadly Choices campaign."

The kidneys are vital to the body’s general health and wellbeing and if not identified early, kidney disease can have major impacts making regular dialysis necessary. Kidney transplantation is sometimes necessary.

"Fortunately, detection is simple - through a routine urine or blood test. Picking up the early signs of disease can change its course," Dr Young said.

"World Kidney Day reminds us to not only consider our own kidney health, but to continue to support other communities to reduce their likelihood of suffering from kidney disease."

How can you keep your kidneys healthy?

  • Drink lots of water every day
  • If you suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, manage your condition with diet, exercise and medication (as directed by your doctor)
  • Reduce your intake of salt
  • Don’t resist the urge to urinate
  • Avoid drinking alcohol to excess and don’t smoke
  • Maintain a healthy diet that includes vegetables and fruit, controlling portion sizes and doing some form of physical exercise daily.

Some symptoms of kidney disease include:

  • Changes in the amount and number of times urine is passed
  • Changes in the appearance of urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Puffiness in the legs and/or ankles
Last updated: 26 March 2015