Chronic kidney disease (CKD) was behind one in ten deaths in Australia in 2006, according to data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The report also said that between 2006 and 2007 more than a million hospital admissions resulted from CKD.
Diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking and obesity were among the leading factors behind the disturbing phenomenon.
Claire Ryan the author of the report says kidney disease is quite often called a 'silent disease' as people can lose up to 90% of their kidney function before they know they have it, yet the disease is easily diagnosed with a blood test.
Ms Ryan's study also found that the number of deaths caused by chronic kidney disease is eleven times greater among Indigenous men and seven times more likely among Indigenous women and she suggests that risk factors may be more common in certain remote communities.
Ms Ryan's says however that it is important to note that there can be vast differences between Indigenous communities and this difference is yet to be examined but a possible topic of future research.
The last national survey (in 1999-2000) that tested for chronic kidney disease showed that 1 in 7 Australians over the age of 25 had some form of chronic kidney disease and Ms Ryan says such statistics clearly indicate that chronic kidney disease is a common and serious problem in Australia.
The report, an overview of chronic kidney disease in Australia, 2009, shows that more and more Australians are having dialysis or transplants for the disease's most severe form, end stage kidney disease, for which diabetes is a leading cause.
Between 2000 and 2007, the rate of people receiving dialysis and kidney transplants for the treatment of end-stage kidney disease went up by 26% - over the same period, the number of new cases of end-stage kidney disease attributed to diabetes increased by over 65% in people 55 years and older.
Chronic kidney disease is especially common among Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Australians and Ms Ryan says Indigenous Australians are six times as likely as non-Indigenous Australians to receive dialysis and kidney transplants.