Kidney disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
In 2012–13, almost one in five (18 per cent) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 18 had indicators of chronic kidney disease.1
After adjusting for age differences, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more than twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to have indicators of chronic kidney disease.
They are three times as likely as non-Indigenous people to have indicators of Stage 1 chronic kidney disease, and more than four times as likely to have indicators of Stages 4 and 5.1
The incidence of end stage kidney disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is especially high in remote and very remote areas of Australia, with rates up to 20 times those of comparable non-Indigenous peoples.2
Around nine in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with signs of chronic kidney disease are not aware they have it.1
Although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represent less than 2.5 per cent of the national population, they account for approximately 9 per cent of people commencing kidney replacement therapy each year.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are almost four times as likely to die with chronic kidney disease as a cause of death than non-Indigenous Australians.3
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to have end stage kidney disease and be hospitalised or die with chronic kidney disease than non-Indigenous people.4
The greater prevalence of chronic kidney disease in some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is due to the high incidence of traditional risk factors, including diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking, in addition to higher levels of inadequate nutrition, alcohol abuse, streptococcal throat and skin infection, poor living conditions and low birth weight, which is linked to reduced nephron development.4
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience a higher burden of disease; two and a half times that of non-Indigenous people.
A large part of the burden of disease is due to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and chronic kidney disease.
This higher burden can be reduced by identifying chronic disease earlier and through the management of risk factors and the disease itself. See more about the management of risk factors here.
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2014. Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Biomedical Results, 2012-13. Report No: 4727.0.55.003, Canberra.
2. Stumpers S, Thomson N. Review of kidney disease among Indigenous people. Australian Indigenous Health Bulletin 2013;13(2).
3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2012. Chronic Kidney Disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2011. AIHW; 2011. Report No: Cat. No. PHE 151. Canberra.
4. Hoy WE, Kincaid-Smith P, Hughson MD et al. 2010. CKD in Aboriginal Australians. American Journal of Kidney Diseases 2010 August 23;56(5):983-93
Indigenous healthLinks for health professionals