Chronic kidney disease (CKD) was a factor in nearly 10% of all deaths in Australia in 2006, and more than a million hospitalisations in 2006-07, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
'The prevalence of risk factors for chronic kidney disease in Australia is high. Factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking and obesity can all contribute to the onset of the disease,' said report author Claire Ryan.
The last national survey (in 1999-2000) that tested for CKD showed that 1 in 7 Australians over the age of 25 had some form of chronic kidney disease.
'Statistics like these obviously indicate that chronic kidney disease is a common and serious problem in Australia,' Ms Ryan said.
The report, An overview of chronic kidney disease in Australia, 2009, shows that more and more Australians are having dialysis or transplants for the disease's most severe form, end stage kidney disease, for which diabetes is a leading cause.
Between 2000 and 2007, the rate of people receiving dialysis and kidney transplants for the treatment of end-stage kidney disease went up by 26%.
Over the same period, the number of new cases of end-stage kidney disease attributed to diabetes increased by over 65% in people 55 years and older.
Chronic kidney disease is especially common among Indigenous Australians.
'One factor could be the higher rates of diabetes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians,' Ms Ryan said.
Indigenous Australians are six times as likely as non-Indigenous Australians to receive dialysis and kidney transplants.
Death rates from CKD for Indigenous Australian men and women were seven and 11 times those of their non-Indigenous counterparts.