Kidney disease is a chronic disease in which a person's kidney function is reduced or damaged. This affects the kidney's ability to filter blood and therefore control the body's water and other hormone levels, leading to increased fluid and waste within the body. The increase in these fluids can cause high blood pressure, anaemia and uremia. Kidney disease is also often associated with other chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If kidney disease is detected early enough, the progress of the disease can be slowed and sometimes prevented. In 2017, there were 20,851 deaths where kidney diseases were certified as being a contributory factor to mortality, accounting for 13.0% of all deaths.
Chronic kidney disease has a number of stages, ranging in severity from Stage 1 to Stage 5, with the early stages often showing no symptoms. An individual's kidney function can improve or regress during the early stages of the disease but once Stages 4 and 5 are reached, kidney function is severely reduced and unlikely to improve. A person with end stage kidney disease is generally reliant on kidney replacement therapy in the form of dialysis or kidney transplant. The National Health Survey does not collect information regarding the different Stages of chronic kidney disease.
Data on kidney disease presented here refers to persons who reported having been told by a doctor or nurse that they had kidney disease and that it was current and long-term; that is, their kidney disease was current at the time of interview and had lasted, or was expected to last, 6 months or more.