Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island intro1

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is generally more prevalent in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) population than in the non-indigenous population. The statistics are serious, with everyone of the ATSI community currently being ‘at risk’ of kidney disease, and the risk of having chronic kidney disease increases with age.  Currently within the ATSI community evidence suggests that 97% of those over 55 years old have reported as having at least one long-term health condition. However chronic kidney disease can potentially develop at any age. The most common cause of kidney disease for ATSI patients is diabetes (high blood sugar).

The ATSI population are at a higher risk of developing CKD due to various lifestyle choices and medical conditions. These include increasing age, low birth weight & infant malnutrition, adult weight gain, signs of syndrome X (increasing blood pressure, insulin, blood glucose, and lipid levels), skin infections, post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, excessive intake of alcohol, repeated pregnancies, family history of CKD and smoking.

Mortality rate is also much higher among the ATSI population and statistics have indicated that the morality rate for ATSI women is three times higher than for ATSI men. High mortality is partly linked with the high rate of withdrawals from treatment by patients due to personal challenges. Some of the common challenges includes attending cultural duties, distance from treatment, not finding suitable housing, changing social circumstances and communication problems.

Kidney Support Network understands the impact kidney disease can have on patients and their families. Our services are designed to help patients overcome some of the challenges they may face. To better support the ATSI community we have developed services that can make their lives easier. These include:

  • Regular transport to and from the hospitals for dialysis;
  • Convenient accommodation for transplant patients;
  • Peer support for Indigenous patients;and
  • Information & resources that addresses the needs of the ATSI community.

The Kidney Support Network acknowledges the traditional owners of country, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We respect their cultures and elders, past and present.