A young person on dialysis has 1,000 times the risk of heart disease and often patients die of heart disease before even going to dialysis. Often these patients face severe disadvantage.

There are many factors which contribute to the high rate of chronic disease in the West of Melbourne.

The risk factors contributing to chronic disease in our communities include the socio economic determinants, the multicultural background, also risk factors including high BMI, high rates of diabetes and other lifestyle factors.

Head of Nephrology at Western Health and co-founder of the Chronic Disease Alliance, A/Prof Craig Nelson says “We can’t ignore the overlap between these factors. We have twice the rate of diabetes compared with the national average.

“We see about 30% of patients arriving to dialysis within three months of actually knowing they’ve got kidney disease, which is one of the highest rates in Australia.

“A lot of it is caused by people not getting tested at the right time and then developing symptoms and having tests done with their primary care doctors.”

The Alliance is currently running a project called Chronic Disease Impact – https://whcda.wh.org.au/research/chronic-disease-impact/ – which is working with primary care to detect disease early in people at risk. It is aimed at detecting people’s disease early, getting people tested, getting people diagnosed and getting people managed in a timely way. This is essential to be able to move into the future and prevent chronic kidney disease.

Click here to learn more about the work of the Western Health Chronic Disease Alliance.