A national survey has revealed people in Yorkshire have a lack of knowledge of one of the UK’s fastest growing and deadliest illnessess.

The survey of 2,000 people, carried out by Kidney Research UK – a leading funder of research into the treatment and prevention of kidney disease – found people in Yorkshire and Humberside are ‘in the dark’ when it comes to kidney disease, which is known as a ‘silent killer’ because of its lack of symptoms.

Despite the disease being one of the country’s fastest growing illnesses, 87 per cent of people from the county said they had little or no knowledge of the disease, its symptoms or causes.

Although kidney disease can affect anyone at any age, 49 per cent thought the illness posed no threat to them, while 43 per cent said they were unsure.

Seven per cent believed they are at risk, despite 28 per cent confirming they suffered with one of the three leading causes of kidney disease – diabetes, high blood pressure or vascular disease.

Sandra Currie, chief executive of Kidney Research UK, said: “This survey highlights a deeply worrying lack of awareness in Yorkshire and Humberside and goes some way to explain why the disease has reached epidemic proportions in the UK.

“Even people who are at significantly increased risk from the illness because of pre-existing conditions appear to be cin the dark.

“With the number of patients who need treatment for kidney failure rising by more than four per cent each year, and very limited funding available for research into new treatments, we have all the makings of a very real public health crisis.”

More than three million people in the UK are at risk from chronic kidney disease (CKD), while 51,000 require some form of renal replacement therapy for kidney failure – a twenty per cent increase since 2006.

If caught early enough, the damage done by some forms of kidney disease can be slowed, stopped or even reversed, but because it displays few symptoms, many patients go undiagnosed until their kidneys fail.

The charity has launched an appeal called ‘Go Purple’ which aims to highlight the dangers of kidney disease and raise funds.

For more information or to take a free online kidney health check, visit kidneyresearchuk.org.