Be kind to your kidneys

Sheree Considine and Phuc Hoang walking to raise awareness of kidney disease.

By Ewen McRae

Sunshine’s Sheree Considine credits a simple check-up with diagnosing her kidney disease, and now she’s helping to spread awareness.

Ms Considine, 36, visited an optometrist in July 2016 after experiencing some blurred vision, soon after she was told she had an auto-immune condition known as IgA nephropathy which had reduced her kidney function to 20 per cent.

“I’d just returned from a bit of time working overseas, and the optometrist sent me off to the eye and ear hospital for some scans after seeing some bleeding in my eye,” Ms Considine said.

“They were most worried about my high blood pressure, but they did some tests and eventually discovered I had this auto-immune condition and my kidney’s were struggling to function properly.

“It was pretty serious at the time, and they didn’t know how long I’d had it. Looking back, because I was travelling I hadn’t thought much of it, but I had lost some weight, and my appetite was down, but I just thought it was a change in me.”

Ms Considine has been on dialysis since July 2017 and is on the waiting list for a new kidney, but on September 9 she joined with thousands of others for the annual Big Red Kidney Walk to raise money and awareness for Kidney Health Australia.

“Kidney Health Australia do a lot for people suffering from kidney disease, so I’m glad I can play a part in helping out,” Ms Considine said.

“Before I was diagnosed I didn’t even know what my kidneys did, so a big part of all this is education and making people aware that these conditions affect people of all ages.”