4364.0.55.001 - National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/12/2015   
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Kidney disease is a chronic disease in which a person's kidney function is reduced or damaged. This affects the kidney's ability to filter blood and therefore control the body's water and other hormone levels, leading to increased fluid and waste within the body. The increase in these fluids can cause high blood pressure, anemia and uremia. Kidney disease is also often associated with other chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


    Chronic kidney disease has a number of stages, ranging in severity from Stage 1 to Stage 5, with the early stages often showing no symptoms. An individual's kidney function can improve or regress during the early stages of the disease but once Stages 4 and 5 are reached, kidney function is severely reduced and unlikely to improve. A person with end stage kidney disease is generally reliant on kidney replacement therapy in the form of dialysis or kidney transplant.[1][2]

    Data on kidney disease presented here refers to persons who reported having been told by a doctor or nurse that they had kidney disease and that it was current and long-term; that is, their kidney disease was current at the time of interview and had lasted, or was expected to last, 6 months or more.

In 2014-15, 0.9% of Australians (203,400 people) had kidney disease. The prevalence of kidney disease has remained stable over the past three years (0.8% of the population or 181,900 people in 2011-12).

Men and women had similar rates of kidney disease (both 0.9%), while rates increase with age. In 2014-15, 3.6% of people aged 75 years and over reported having kidney disease.

Graph Image for Proportion of persons with kidney disease, 2011-12 to 2014-15

Source(s): National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15

2011-12 biomedical information

In 2011-12, biomedical information was collected for the first time by ABS, including tests measuring aspects of kidney function. Results were used to determine indicators of chronic kidney disease and its stages. Around 1.7 million people (10.0%) aged 18 years and over had indicators of chronic kidney disease based on these tests.

Of these people, only 6.1% had reported having kidney disease. This suggests that a large proportion of people with indicators of chronic kidney disease were unaware that they had the condition. However, it is possible that not all those people whose tests provided an indication of chronic kidney disease had the condition, as tests at a single point in time cannot provide a diagnosis for kidney disease and could indicate the presence of an acute kidney condition or infection instead. Kidney disease can only be confirmed if indicators are persistent for at least three months.[3]

For more information see Australian Health Survey: Biomedical Results for Chronic Diseases, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.005).


1. Kidney Health Australia, July 2014, Risk factors and symptoms of Kidney Disease?, <http://www.kidney.org.au/KidneyDisease/RiskFactorsandSymptoms/tabid/819/Default.aspx>; last accessed 10/11/2015.
2. The Renal Association, July 2014, Stage 4-5 CKD, <http://www.renal.org/information-resources/the-uk-eckd-guide/stages-4-5-ckd#sthash.sHNUuIjf.puzWwFtZ.dpbs>; last accessed 10/11/2015.
3. Kidney Health Australia, 2015, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Management in General Practice. 3rd Edition 2015 <http://www.kidney.org.au/>; last accessed 10/11/2015.