KidneyCheck program at pharmacy

Amcal and Guardian pharmacies are getting behind Kidney Health Week (May 22-29), Kidney Health Australia’s national awareness campaign which is urging everyone to check their kidney health.

The campaign – launched under the call to action ‘I Kidney Check’ – highlights the risk that people can lose 90 per cent of their kidney function without noticeable symptoms.

About 1.7 million people have indicators of chronic kidney disease, yet less than 10 per cent realise they have the condition. Meanwhile, the general population is largely unaware of the critical role the kidneys play in keeping the body healthy and the crucial need to get their kidneys checked every 12 months.

“Good kidney health is important, so detection is vital,” Sigma Chief Operating Officer Gary Dunne said. “Sigma is committed to improving the health services available to our Amcal and Guardian pharmacies. Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare providers in community health, so bringing campaigns such as ‘I Kidney Check’ is so important in supporting the health of the community.”

Kidney Health Australia CEO Anne Wilson believes the general public needs to be more aware of what their kidneys do.

“The kidneys are vital organs, just like the heart, brain or lungs,” she said. “If they shut down, your body shuts down. It is time for Australians to check their kidney health and understand the devastating impact that sick kidneys have on the body, and learn about the links between kidney disease and other chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, one of the most common causes of kidney disease.

“Prevention and early detection is critical and I encourage all Australians – particularly those at increased risk – to speak to their GP or pharmacist about checking the health of their kidneys before it’s too late.”

The exclusive KidneyCheck program, developed by Kidney Health Australia, is available from Amcal, Amcal Max or Guardian pharmacies. This is the first self-management program in Australia and has been designed for people with high blood pressure and diabetes to quickly and easily monitor kidney health by checking urine for protein, one of the first signs of kidney damage.

Ms Wilson also encouraged everyone to go to Kidney Health Australia’s website and share their stories on the ‘I Kidney Check’ gallery page at kidney.org.au/kidney-check.

There is increased risk of developing kidney disease if you:

  • Have diabetes.
  • Have high blood pressure.
  • Have established heart problems (heart failure or heart attack) or have had a stroke.
  • Have a family history of kidney failure.
  • Are obese, with a body mass index 30 or higher.
  • Are a smoker.
  • Are aged 60 or older.
  • Are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin.
  • Have a history of acute kidney injury.