Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is defined as the presence of impaired or reduced kidney function lasting at least 3 months. A person who has the most severe form of CKD, kidney failure (also known as end-stage kidney disease), usually requires a kidney transplant or dialysis to survive. The elderly, Indigenous Australians and people living in remote and socioeconomically disadvantaged areas are at an increased risk of CKD.
Australian Centre for Monitoring Population Health
Latest data and information on the health of Australians
The kidneys filter and remove waste from the blood. Kidney disease occurs when the nephrons (functional units inside the kidney that filter the blood) are damaged. When a person has evidence of kidney damage and/or reduced kidney function for at least 3 months, this is referred to as chronic kidney disease, or CKD. CKD is usually categorised into 5 stages according to the level of kidney function and evidence of kidney damage, indicated by biological markers such as blood or protein in the urine.
CKD is mostly diagnosed at more advanced stages when symptoms become more apparent. Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys can no longer function adequately, at which point people require kidney replacement therapy (KRT) – a kidney transplant or dialysis – to survive. Not everyone with kidney failure chooses to receive KRT, opting instead for end-of-life care.
Tests of a person’s blood and urine can identify most cases of CKD when the disease is in its early stages, enabling treatment to prevent or slow its progression.
2 million hospitalisations recorded CKD as a diagnosis in 2020–21 – 17% of all hospitalisations in Australia
In 2021, 28,500 people with kidney failure received kidney replacement therapy (KRT) in Australia
In 2021, 15,200 people with kidney failure received dialysis and 857 kidney transplant operations were performed
By Primary Health Network, type 2 diabetes rates were generally higher in regional than in metropolitan areas
The highest chronic kidney disease hospitalisation rate by Population Health Area was 23 times the national average
Self-reported heart, stroke and vascular disease rates ranged from 2.9% to 8.4% across Primary Health Networks
The AIHW undertakes national surveillance and monitoring of a number of prominent chronic conditions, including chronic kidney disease, along with their comorbidities and associated risk factors. The AIHW seeks to enhance the evidence on the impact of chronic conditions, including chronic kidney disease, through these monitoring activities by providing information and advice, addressing key policy priorities and filling key information gaps.