BALLARAT has been named among the nation’s hot spots for chronic kidney disease.
New data confirms Ballarat has the third-highest rate of chronic kidney disease in Australia with an estimated 14 per cent of adults experiencing kidney damage, compared to the 10 per cent national average.
The report, to be released on Monday, draws a strong correlation between western Victoria’s above-average obesity and chronic kidney disease rates. More than 70 per cent of people living in western Victoria – including Ballarat, Warrnambool, Horsham and Geelong – are deemed overweight or obese.
Ballarat kidney specialist John Richmond last week told The Courier that dialysis was operating close to capacity in Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital, due to an increasing prevalence of chronic kidney disease in the community.
Obesity and Chronic Kidney Disease: the Hidden Impact, a Kidney Health Australia-led report, will be launched as part of Kidney Health Week with World Kidney Day ahead on Thursday.
South Eastern New South Wales (20 per cent) and Queensland’s Darling Downs/West Moreton (16 per cent) have the nation’s highest chronic kidney disease rates with the Murray region on par with the Western Victoria Primary Health Network.
Kidney Health Australia chief executive officer Mikaela Stafrace said it was a concerning situation.
“Being obese is a potent risk factor for the development of kidney disease,” Ms Staface said.
“In obese people, the kidneys have to work harder, filtering more blood than normal. This increase in function can damage the kidneys – effectively shutting them down – and cause kidney disease.
“It’s critical that Australians understand that when your kidneys shut down, your body shuts down.”
Overweight people have a 50 per cent higher chance of developing kidney disease, according to Kidney Health Australia. For obese people, the risk is doubled.
Ms Stafrace said people at risk of developing kidney disease, due to weight, should ask their doctor for a kidney health check. She said kidney disease could be managed with lifestyle changes or medication.
Kidney disease is deemed the ‘hidden’ casualty of obesity due to its gradual development, which can allow the body time to adapt and compensate early on.