Prevention and management

Kidney disease is a preventable condition [45231]. To maintain healthy kidneys and prevent disease, people should be supported to:

  • control blood pressure and blood glucose levels
  • avoid smoking tobacco
  • have a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, proteins and low-fat dairy
  • be physically active
  • maintain a healthy bodyweight
  • minimise alcohol consumption
  • stay hydrated [45156].

If the kidneys stop working properly – as is the case when someone has end-stage kidney disease – a person may need to engage in one or more of the following treatments to manage the condition:

  • Dialysis – the mechanical filtering of the blood to help maintain functions normally performed by the kidneys. There are two types of dialysis:
    • haemodialysis: Needles are used to access blood, which is passed through a machine to filter (clean) it and then returned to the body. Haemodialysis can be performed by patients in their own homes or at a specialist centre.
    • peritoneal dialysis: A tube is placed in the stomach and a special peritoneal dialysis fluid is used to clean the blood. Peritoneal dialysis can be performed by patients in their own homes [45157].
  • Kidney transplantation – taking a healthy kidney from either a living or recently deceased donor and implanting it in a patient [45030]. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are much less likely to get a kidney transplant than non-Indigenous people. This is often due to limited access to appropriate information, resources and support that facilitate being placed on the kidney transplant waitlist [44836].
  • Comprehensive conservative carean alternative to dialysis or kidney transplantation for people who choose to stop or are unable to have dialysis treatment, or wish to let life progress naturally. It involves support from a multidisciplinary team that provide medications, dietary advice and assistance to manage the symptoms of kidney disease. It may also include support from a palliative care team [45158].

In many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the prevention and management of kidney disease depends on addressing underlying social, cultural and economic determinants of health such as poverty, living conditions and racism, which have been shown to contribute to kidney disease [44836][33970].

References

Key resources

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Artwork

Watiya-warnu Jukurrpa (Seed Dreaming) by Evelyn Nangala Robertson

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