Some facts about your kidneys

  • Your kidneys help keep your body healthy in different ways.
  • They keep your blood pressure regular
  • Add water to the waste your body makes so it can come out as pee/urine
  • Clean your blood
  • Manage your body's production of Vitamin D

What is kidney disease?

Kidney disease is when the kidneys are damaged and don’t work as well as they should.

How will I know I have it?

Often there are no early warning signs for kidney disease and if you do have symptoms they can be general and vague and similar to symptoms of other diseases.

Symptoms often don’t show up until your kidneys are very damaged and can include:

  • Nausea and loss of appetite
  • Swollen or numb hands and feet
  • Skin that looks darker than normal
  • Changes in your pee
  • Muscle cramps

Who is at risk of kidney disease?

You might be at risk of kidney disease if you:

  • Smoke
  • Have diabetes, high blood pressure, or a heart problem
  • Are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • Are older than 60
  • Have a waist measurement of more than 94cm
  • Have a family history of kidney failure
  • Have had an injury to your kidneys

If you are worried about kidney disease for any of these reasons, or because you have symptoms, talk to a nurse at the health centre.


How can I prevent it?

Get your blood pressure checked at least every two years. If you have diabetes, it is important to monitor it and keep it under control.

Ways to improve your kidney health in gaol

Get moving

  • Being active for as little as 30 minutes a day is enough to improve your health and wellbeing. And you don’t have to do 30 minutes all at once
  • Getting moving with mates in the yard can help everyone get motivated and make exercise more fun
  • Exercising or training with a buddy like your cellie is a good way to help each other
  • Moving more can help if your emotions are up and down or you get stuck doing head miles
  • A daily routine is a good thing too
  • And don’t forget, walking is great exercise

Re-think your buy-ups

  • Eat less sugar, salt and fat Look for the OK sign on the buy-ups list
  • Tinned vegetables are a great alternative if you can’t get fresh ones
  • Try adding things like rice, beans and tinned fish
  • If you buy a treat, share it
  • Swap food with lots of sugar and fat, for foods with less, like chips for popcorn
  • Make water your main drink, and drink plenty of it
  • Aim for a waist measurement of no more than 94cm.

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