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Our KEY to Good Health Program is important for the early detection and prevention of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and is aimed only at those with increased risk of developing kidney disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The program is a local community and pharmacy initiative provided by Kidney Health Australia and has been successful in a variety of settings. It provides an innovative comprehensive health check which embraces our National Chronic Kidney Disease Strategy to prevent the onset of kidney disease through community awareness, health promotion and early detection.

Tests include: your height, weight and waist circumference measurement, blood pressure and risk assessments for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease. After these tests have been done, your height, weight and waist circumference are measured, to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI).

Your Point-of-Care (on the spot) results for your Kidney Health Check

Your test results are then discussed with an experienced health professional and if required, referral to a GP. All participants are given information relating to their risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

This initiative has positive consequences for any community and local area in raising awareness of the success of early detection for Chronic Kidney Disease. Our objective in working together is to save lives and reduce the need for dialysis. Kidney Health Australia is the national peak body funding research and promoting public awareness, prevention and management of kidney disease.

For more information on our KEY Program, call 1800 454 363 or research@kidney.org.au


Research shows that early detection of kidney disease can improve long term outcomes and reduce the progression of CKD and cardiovascular risk by 50%! Read more on KEY kidney health prevention messages which also focus on the importance of maintaining a balanced lifestyle.

For organs so small, your kidneys works hard and have a number of vital roles to play in the daily functions of our body to keep us healthy. Kidney disease is often called a "silent disease" because sometimes it has no symptoms. It is common for people to lose up to 90% of their kidney function before developing any symptoms. The signs and symptoms of kidney disease, when they do occur, may be general and similar to other conditions. Click here to find out more about risk factors & signs and symptoms of kidney disease.

Kidney disease is common

  • Anyone can get kidney disease, but especially those at 'increased risk'.
  • 1 in 9 Australians over the age of 25 years has at least one clinical sign of Chronic Kidney Disease
  • 1 in 3 have at least one risk factor for developing the disease!
  • Indigenous Australians are almost 4 most times as likely to die with CKD as a cause of death, than non-Indigenous Australians.

You are at 'increased risk' of kidney disease if you:

  • are 60 years or older
  • are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin
  • have diabetes
  • have a family history of kidney disease
  • have established heart problems (heart failure or past heart attack) and/or have had a stroke
  • have high blood pressure
  • are obese Body Mass Index (BMI) more than or equal to >=30)
  • are a smoker


eGFR stands for ‘estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate’
It is difficult to calculate the exact rate at which your kidneys are working so a formula has been developed to estimate your GFR. This formula uses your age, gender and the level of *creatinine in your blood to estimate your glomerular filtration rate or rate of kidney function.

*Creatinine is a waste product made by the muscles which is usually removed from the blood by the kidneys before passing out in the urine. When the kidneys aren’t working well, creatinine stays in the blood.

The glomerular filtration rate measures how well your kidneys filter wastes from your blood and is the best measure of kidney function. It helps to determine if there is any kidney damage. The higher the filtration rate, the better the kidneys are working. If your doctor orders a blood test to learn more about your kidney function, an eGFR result is usually provided automatically by the pathology laboratory along with your blood concentration and creatinine results.

If your result is over 60 - your kidney function is normal or close to normal
You may still have some kidney damage or be at risk of kidney disease and require ongoing monitoring, particularly if you have one or more high risk factors. Your doctor may decide to monitor your kidney function, suggest treatments and/or discuss healthy lifestyle choices.

A value below 60 suggests some kidney damage
To confirm your results, your doctor will most likely repeat the blood test to decide if you have chronic kidney disease. Monitoring changes to your GFR also tells your doctor how fast or slowly your condition is progressing.

What is normal blood pressure?
Since blood pressure varies from person to person and for each person during the day, there are no fixed rules about what blood pressure reading is ‘normal’.

These figures can be a useful guide for blood pressure levels:
Normal < 120/80  *High normal 120-139 / 80-89  *High  > 140/90

A single high reading is not enough to make a diagnosis of ‘high blood pressure’. You need to have a series of high readings taken on several different days, at different times, before high blood pressure can be confirmed. Your blood pressure does not stay the same, it changes to meet the demands of your body. It is usually at its highest when we exercise and lowest when we sleep. It can also rise due to anxiety, excitement, activity or nervousness.


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Supporting Publications
The KEY Program is Kidney Health Australia’s first primary heath care program in Australia using point-of-care machines to screen for kidney function. This unique aspect sets KEY apart from other screening programs.

Refer to our Publications - Archive database

KHA Patient Resources: Health Fact Sheets  -  Health Publications  -  Patient weblinks

If recently diagnosed with kidney failure, we highly recommend our publications
Living with Kidney Failure & Living with Reduced Kidney Function

Updated 28 March 2014 
Disclaimer: This information is intended as a general introduction to this topic and is not meant to substitute for your doctor's or health professional's advice. All care is taken to ensure the information is relevant and applicable to each Australian state. It should be noted Kidney Health Australia recognises each person's experience is individual and variations do occur in treatment and management due to personal circumstances. Should you require further info always consult your doctor or health professional.

The KEY Study: Review of CKD Screening in Australia:NEPHROLOGY 2009; 14, 367–373 doi:10.1111/j.1440-1797.2009.01113.x
The KEY Program brochureThe KEY program - information and overview
Screening for chronic kidney disease in Australia: a pilot study in the community and workplaceKidney International (2010) 77 (Suppl 116), S9–S16; doi:10.1038/ki.2009.538
  The material contained on this site does not constitute medical advice. It is intended for information purposes only. Published by Kidney Health Australia. Privacy Policy. For information about website content please contact the National Communications Manager.

© 2008 Kidney Health Australia

Last updated: Jul 2014.