The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District is using this week's Kidney Health Week to encourage people to get regular kidney health checks, especially those with a high risk of kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease nurse Mikki Smyth said people with diabetes, high blood pressure or established heart problems had a higher than average risk of kidney disease. Obesity, smoking, Aboriginality and a family history of the disease also increased the risk.
"All members of the community should be conscious of the health of their kidneys. However, it's especially important that people with a high risk of kidney disease visit their GP for a kidney health check every year," Ms Smyth said.
Health district renal service director Maureen Lonergan said that a person could lose up to 90 per cent of kidney function before feeling symptoms, which was why regular testing was so important.
"While there is no cure for kidney disease, early detection can increase the life of your kidneys and keep you feeling your best for as long as possible," she said.
Prof Lonergan said people could take care of their kidneys and help prevent kidney disease by maintaining a healthy body weight, reducing salt intake, drinking mainly water and monitoring their kidney health if at high risk.
For more information go to kidney.org.au or call 1800 454 363.