Many of us don’t think about how healthy our kidneys are until there’s a problem. Find out if you’re at risk of chronic kidney disease, how to get your kidney health checked, and what you can do to look after your kidneys.
The NPS MedicineWise program on chronic kidney disease has been developed in collaboration with Kidney Health Australia and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).
Learn about kidneys and why you may need a Kidney Health Check
Understanding your kidneys
Your kidneys work hard every day to keep you healthy. They filter your blood to get rid of waste and extra fluid, which is what makes your urine (wee). They also help control your blood pressure. They support red blood cells and keep your bones healthy.
Learn more about your kidneys and what they do:
- How to look after your kidneys (Kidney Health Australia fact sheet)
- Kidney Health Australia has information and support, or call the Kidney Helpline on 1800 454 363.
- This video from Kidney Health Australia explains what your kidneys do and how to keep your kidneys healthy.
Source: Kidney Health Australia, Understanding Kidney Disease video. November 2020. Date accessed 14 June 2022
Why is a Kidney Health Check important?
Your kidneys are just as important as your heart. And just like getting your heart checked, there are simple tests your doctor can use to check how well your kidneys are working.
Why? Because chronic kidney disease is a silent disease for most people. Less than 1 in 10 people with chronic kidney disease know they have it.
You can lose 90% of your kidney function before you feel unwell.
But a Kidney Health Check can help you find kidney disease early. This gives you the best chance to slow or stop the damage.
Learn about chronic kidney disease and what you can do
About chronic kidney disease
Chronic kidney disease (or CKD) means your kidneys may not have been working as well as they should for at least 3 months. As a result, waste may have slowly built up in your body. This can cause many health problems including high blood pressure. You can’t always reverse the damage to your kidneys but there are treatments that can help stop or slow the damage. Finding out about your kidney health early and taking action to protect your kidneys gives you the best chance to stay healthy.
Learn more about looking after chronic kidney disease:
- The How healthy are my kidneys and how do I stay well? fact sheet helps you understand what your test results tell you about how well your kidneys are working. It also gives tips for keeping your kidneys healthy.
- My Kidneys My Health handbook and mobile app from Kidney Health Australia provides support and information for people newly diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.
- All about chronic kidney disease (Kidney Health Australia fact sheet).
- Make the Link: Chronic Kidney Disease, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease (Kidney Health Australia fact sheet).
- Use the My Kidney Care Plan to help you keep track of your tests and treatments. Download PDF
- Podcast – Chronic kidney disease: A consumer perspective on navigating a new diagnosis
Lifestyle choices for better kidney health
Look after your kidneys by making healthy choices in your daily life. Eating healthy foods, being active and quitting smoking are just some of the things you can do. Talk to your health professional about changes you can make to protect your kidney health. Every little step you take is a step in the right direction.
- My Kidney Health Plan can help you understand and plan the things you can do to keep your kidneys healthy. Use it with your health professional to plan steps you can take toward reaching your kidney health goals.
- Lifestyle choices for better health
- Watch Kidney Health Australia’s wellbeing sessions about healthy eating, exercise, sleep and stress.
Resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Resources in community languages
5 most important questions to ask your doctor: Choosing Wisely Australia
Choosing Wisely Australia helps healthcare providers and consumers have important conversations about improving the quality of health care by reducing unnecessary and sometimes harmful tests, treatments and procedures.
5 questions to ask your doctor or other healthcare provider is a resource that can help patients ensure they receive the right amount of care.
Translated resources available here.