How many Australians have chronic kidney disease?

All chronic kidney disease

An estimated 1.7 million (10%) Australian adults aged 18 years and over had biomedical signs of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in 2011–12, based on measured data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2011–12 Australian Health Survey. The vast majority of these (97%) showed early signs of the disease (stages 1–3). CKD remains a highly under-diagnosed condition―only 10% of the survey respondents who showed biomedical signs of CKD also self-reported that they had the condition. Therefore, this section reports measured data from the ABS 2011–12 Australian Health Survey instead of self-reported data from the more recent ABS 2014–15 National Healthy Survey.

In 2011–12, the prevalence of biomedical signs of CKD among adults:

  • Was similar for men and women (10% for both).
  • Increased rapidly after age 74, with rates among those aged 75 and over (42%) twice as high as for 65–74 (21%) and around 7 times as high as those aged 18–54 (6%) (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Prevalence of CKD, among persons aged 18 and over, by age and sex, 2011–12

The vertical bar chart shows that the prevalence of biomedical signs of CKD increased rapidly with age in 2011–12. Men aged 75 and over had higher rates than those aged 65–74 (43%25 compared to 26%25), while for women the rate in those aged 75 and over was 2.6 times as high as those aged 65–74 (42%25 compared to 16%25).

Note: Based on biomedical data (eGFR and ACR results).

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS Microdata: Australian Health Survey, Core Content—Risk Factors and Selected Health Conditions, 2011–12 (Data table).

Inequalities

In 2011–12, the prevalence of biomedical signs of CKD among adults was similar by remoteness and generally increased with socioeconomic disadvantage (Figure 2). Proportions were:

  • Similar between Major cities (10%), Inner regional (11%) and Outer regional and remote (9%) areas.
  • Highest in the lowest socioeconomic group (14%) compared with those in the highest socioeconomic group (8%).

Figure 2: Prevalence of CKD, among persons aged 18 and over, by remoteness and socioeconomic group, 2011–12

The horizontal bar chart shows that rates of CKD were similar across remoteness categories for males and females ─ Major cities (10%25 for males and for females), Inner regional (10%25 and 11%25) and Outer regional/Remote areas (9%25). Rates were higher in the lowest socioeconomic group (14%25 for men and 13%25 for women) compared with those in the highest socioeconomic group (8%25 for men and 9%25 for women).

Notes 

  1. Based on biomedical data (eGFR and ACR results).
  2. Please see data table for information on remoteness and socioeconomic group classifications.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS Microdata: Australian Health Survey, Core Content – Risk Factors and Selected Health Conditions, 2011–12 (Data table).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

An estimated 1 in 5 (18%) Indigenous adults (59,600 people) had biomedical signs of CKD, according to the ABS 2012–13 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey.

Indigenous Australian adults were twice as likely to have biomedical signs of CKD as their non-Indigenous counterparts (22% and 10%, respectively, after taking into account differences in the age structure of the populations).

End-stage kidney disease

Information on the prevalence and incidence of people with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) who receive kidney replacement therapy (KRT) in the form of a kidney transplant or dialysis can be obtained from the Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry (ANZDATA). However, this registry does not contain information on those who do not receive KRT.

The following section reports the incidence of both KRT-treated and non-KRT-treated ESKD as this provides a more complete picture of the burden of ESKD.

There were around 5,100 new cases of ESKD in Australia in 2013—around 14 cases per day which equates to an incidence rate of 19 cases per 100,000 population.

Trends

The absolute number of new cases of ESKD increased by 51% between 1997 and 2013, from 3,400 to 5,100. Despite increases in the number of new cases of ESKD, the age-standardised incidence rates have remained relatively stable over this period, an average of 21 cases per 100,000 population per year (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Trends in incidence of ESKD, by sex, 1997–2013

The line chart shows that from 1997 to 2013, the incidence of treated-ESKD has remained relatively stable for both males and females, at 25 and 17 cases per 100,000 population). Male rates were consistently higher than female rates over this period.

Note: Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian Standard Population.

Sources: Linked ANZDATA, AIHW National Mortality Database and National Death Index (Data table).

Age and sex

In 2013, the incidence rate for ESKD:

  • Was overall 1.5 times as high for males than females (23 and 16 per 100,000 population, respectively). Age-specific rates were higher for males than females across all age groups (Figure 4).
  • Increased rapidly with age, with rates among males and females aged 75 years and over (207 and 159 per 100,000) almost 4 times as high as rates for those aged 65–74 years (57 and 35 per 100,000) (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Incidence of ESKD, by age and sex, 2013

The vertical bar chart shows that in 2013 the incidence of treated-ESKD increased with age for both males and females, with the highest rate in those aged 75 years and over (207 and 159 per 100,000 males and females, respectively) and 4-5 times as high as rates in those aged 65-74 years (57 and 35 per 100,000 males and  females). Male rates were higher than female rates across all age groups

Sources: Linked ANZDATA, AIHW National Mortality Database and National Death Index (Data table).

Inequalities

In 2009–2013, the incidence of ESKD increased with remoteness and socioeconomic disadvantage. Incidence rates were:

  • Twice as high in Remote and very remote areas compared with Major cities—at least 3 times as high for females (50 compared with 16 per 100,000 population) and 1.5 times as high for males (37 compared with 25 per 100,000) (Figure 5).
  • 1.6 times as high in the lowest socioeconomic group compared with the highest socioeconomic group—1.8 times as high for females (22 compared with 12 per 100,000) and 1.5 times as high for males (30 compared with 20 per 100,000) (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Incidence of ESKD, by remoteness and socioeconomic group, 2009–2013

The horizontal bar chart shows that in 2009 –2013 the incidence of treated-ESKD in Remote/Very remote areas was 3 times as high for females (50 compared with 16 per 100,000 population) and 1.5 times as high for males (37 compared with 25 per 100,000 population) when compared to Major cities. Males and females in the lowest socioeconomic group (group 1) reported the highest incidence of treated-ESKD (30 and 22 per 100,000 population respectively).

Note: Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian Standard Population.

Source: Linked ANZDATA, AIHW National Mortality Database and National Death Index (Data table).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

In 2009–2013, there were around 1,400 new cases of ESKD among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the five jurisdictions (New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, and the Northern Territory) with adequate identification of Indigenous status.

  • The incidence rate of ESKD among Indigenous Australians was almost 5 times as high as the non-Indigenous rate (95 compared with 19 per 100,000 population, respectively).
  • The disparity between Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous Australians was greater for females than males—at least 6 times as high for females (104 and 16 per 100,000) and almost 4 times as high for males (85 and 23 per 100,000).
  • The gap between Indigenous Australians and their non-Indigenous counterparts was considerably higher for those middle aged―around 12 times as high for those aged 35–64. This reflects the earlier onset of ESKD among Indigenous Australians.