Risk and protective factors

There are several risk and protective factors that impact kidney health. While factors like age and genetic history cannot be changed, those relating to behaviour and lifestyle, and some environmental factors can be altered to reduce the risk of kidney disease.

Health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary heart disease and stroke are risk factors for kidney disease, however these conditions are often preventable [45231]. Acute kidney injury is also risk factor for illness [45155].

Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, conditions including low birth weight [44262], repeated post-streptococcal glomerularnephritis infections (which can occur after skin and/or throat infections, or as a complication of scabies), and chronic stress present as additional risk factors for kidney disease [41278].

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].


Key resources



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

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