March 5-11 is Kidney Health Week which aims to raise awareness around the disease dubbed the "silent killer."

TREATMENT: Nurse Penny Clough with patient Arthur Mathews receives dialysis three days a week at Murray Bridge Hospital. Photo: Emma Zirkel.
TREATMENT: Nurse Penny Clough with patient Arthur Mathews receives dialysis three days a week at Murray Bridge Hospital. Photo: Emma Zirkel.

Murray Bridge Hospital is one of twelve sites delivering dialysis to some of the one hundred and ninety-two people in country South Australia who receive the treatment for chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Murray Bridge man Arthur Mathews is one of seventeen patients in the dialysis unit at the hospital, requiring treatment as he has completely lost the function of his kidneys.

Mr Mathews said that his ongoing need for dialysis prevents him from making plans as his life revolves around his trip to the hospital, which he makes three days a week for five hours.

With kidney-related disease affecting more Australians each year than breast cancer or prostate cancer, Kidney Health Week, which runs from March 5-11, aims to raise awareness about the disease which has been dubbed the ‘silent killer.’

Nurse consultant for dialysis treatment at MBH Penny Clough said the symptoms of the disease can be hard to detect but that some people are more at risk of developing CKD.

“In Australia, in 2015, 2654 new patients were diagnosed with kidney disease, 109 of those were in SA,” she said.

“The leading causes and risk factors...in Australia are diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, smoking and family history.

“Everyday in Australia 53 people die of kidney related diseases...it is estimated that one in three people are at risk of kidney disease.

“It is encouraged that anyone who may have any of those risk factors to seek support from their GP by getting a blood test and getting their blood pressure and urine checked.

“The first symptom usually is changes in the urine, such as the presence of blood...but other than that symptoms can be difficult to detect.”

Kidney Health Australia interim chief executive Lisa Murphy said if caught early, CKD is treatable.

“In some cases it can even be reversed entirely, which is why we are urging all Australians to know their risk profile,” she said.

  • To find out if you’re at an increased risk of developing CKD visit www.kidney.org.au