Member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt has marked Kidney Health Week (May 24 to 30) by urging Far Northerners not to neglect their kidney health.

Mr Pitt said chronic kidney disease is a silent killer responsible for the deaths of more than 3,200 Australians each year.

“The silent killer theme of Kidney Health Week is appropriate given the number of deaths caused by chronic kidney disease,” he said.

“In 2007, disease of the kidney and urinary tract jumped to number 10 on the list of leading causes of death, with 3,230 deaths across the country.

“While kidney failure is causing more deaths people remain unaware of the risks.

“In many cases a person can lose up to 90 per cent of their kidney function before experiencing any symptoms – and by then it’s too late.

Kidney disease also places a huge financial burden on our health system. It is forecast that the cost of providing renal dialysis and transplantation services in Queensland will climb from $136 million in 2005 to more than $200 million by 2017.

Mr Pitt said Queenslanders could reduce the risk of developing kidney disease by keeping their blood pressure down and living healthier lifestyles.

“Some 80 per cent of people with kidney failure have high blood pressure,“ Mr Pitt said.

“High blood pressure is an important risk factor in chronic kidney disease patients and it needs to be carefully monitored.

Mr Pitt said Kidney Health Week was also about encouraging Queenslanders to develop healthier lifestyles.

“Regular kidney health checks, particularly for people in the at risk groups, are important. But living a healthier lifestyle is equally important,” he said.

“The Bligh Government is committed as part of its Toward Q2 vision to making Queenslanders Australia’s healthiest people.

“That’s why we’re encouraging all Queenslanders to exercise more, consume alcohol responsibly and have a healthy, balanced diet.

“By doing these things, Queenslanders can cut the risk of developing kidney disease and other chronic diseases.”

Mr Pitt said the incidence of End Stage Kidney Disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is 7.8 times that of non-indigenous Australians.

“Indigenous Queenslanders make up 14.8 per cent of all dialysis patients, despite representing only 3.5 per cent of Queensland’s population,” he said.

“This shows that Indigenous Queenslanders are far more vulnerable to kidney disease than non-Indigenous Queenslanders.

“We’re committed to closing this gap and the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Queenslanders.”

One in three Australians is at increased risk of chronic kidney disease if they have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Are over 50 years of age
  • Have diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
  • Have a family history of kidney disease
  • Are a smoker
  • Are obese.

For more information on Kidney Health Australia visit or call 1800 4 KIDNEY.