Kidney Health Australia urges adults to take a simple two-minute online test to determine if they are at risk of developing kidney disease.
The organisation said that of the 2 million Australian adults affected by kidney disease, 1.8 million are unaware of it, likely due to the lack of symptoms.
It has developed an online test, launched in Kidney Health Week (21-27 May), that includes nine questions to help identify the risk of kidney disease. It will determine whether a follow-up appointment with a general practitioner for a Kidney Health Check is recommended.
Three in four Australians are at risk of kidney disease, with the highest contributing factors being diabetes and high blood pressure.
Kidney disease has no symptoms, and 90 per cent of kidney function can be lost without warning, meaning diagnosis is often too late and little can be done at that late stage to avoid kidney failure.
However, early detection can slow or even stop the progression of this insidious, incurable, and deadly disease.
According to Dr Karen Dwyer, nephrologist and clinical director at Kidney Health Australia, "For the first time in 20 years, there are new treatments for kidney disease that can slow down the progression to kidney failure.
“Early detection has never been more important - we have a unique opportunity to change the future for so many Australians. The best thing you can do this Kidney Health Week, is find out if you are one of the three in four Aussies at risk of kidney disease and, if so, get a Kidney Health Check with your GP."
Kidney Health Australia’s recently released Deloitte Access Economics report highlighted that kidney disease is both a health and economic issue for Australia. The report outlines the need for investment into timely diagnosis and best practice management of chronic kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease costs the Australian taxpayer $9.9 billion annually, $5.1 billion of which is attributed to lost productivity, with the total cost to the health care system estimated to be $2.3 billion.
Kidney Health Australia CEO Chris Forbes said, “Chronic kidney disease is an under-diagnosed condition – by the time people notice any symptoms, up to 90 per cent of kidney function is often lost, making it too late to stop or even slow down the disease.
“With three out of four Australians currently at risk, investment in early detection is vital to saving lives, while also reducing the economic burden on the health system and society as a whole.
“We want to make sure everyone has knowledge and awareness of early detection, which could save their life. We encourage everyone to take the two-minute test on the Kidney Health Australia website. It’s a simple way to determine your risk of kidney disease and take the appropriate steps to avoid a life, or quality of it, being cut short."