How Alcohol Affects Kidneys
Is alcohol bad for your kidneys? The answer is yes, although the damage is not always noticed at once.
Kidneys serve as a body filter, removing the harmful substances from the system. Alcohol is one of such toxic elements and is mainly excreted through kidneys and liver thus, these organs suffer the most. Alcohol negatively affects the body part in the following ways.
Should I Be Concerned About The Health Risks Of Drinking Alcohol
Moderate drinking can be a part of a healthy lifestyle, but its important to understand the effects that chronic drinking can have on the body.
There are many health risks of consuming excessive alcohol use over time. This is why its important to see your healthcare provider regularly and be open and honest about how much alcohol you drink so you any health-related damage can be found early. Regular health check-ups and blood tests can help detect early signs of disease in the brain, kidneys and liver. If youre in Connecticut and would like to find a doctor near you, you can locate a board-certified PACT primary care physician using our searchable list here.
Does Alcohol Affect The Kidneys
The kidneys are hard at work on any given day in a healthy person, but the kidneys of a heavy drinker work overtime. A heavy drinker is defined as a woman who drinks more than seven times a week or a man who drinks more than 14 times a week. People who maintain this kind of drinking habit are at double the risk for developing kidney disease compared to the general population, including moderate drinkers.
One form of alcohol abuse that contributes to kidney disease is binge drinking, usually defined as consuming four or five drinks within two hours. Binge drinking causes a persons blood alcohol content to rise to dangerous levels, which in turn causes the kidneys to lose their function so much, the term for this is acute kidney injury. Japans Internal Medicine journal noted that binge drinking can be a risk factor for such an emergency, including acute kidney injury , a condition whereby the kidneys are unable to stop dangerous levels of waste from accumulating in the blood, according to Mayo Clinic.
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How Does Alcohol Affect Kidney Health
The human body has many vital organs, and the kidneys are among the most important. The kidneys regulate water intake and output. They also balance the level of minerals in the body and produce essential hormones.
Threats to the proper functioning of the kidneys lead to severe medical issues. For example, alcoholism is a leading contributing factor to kidney disease.
The kidneys work hard on any day in a healthy person, but the kidneys of an excessive drinker work overtime.
A heavy drinker is recognized as a woman who drinks alcohol more than seven times a week or a man who drinks more than 14 times a week.11
One type of alcohol consumption that contributes to kidney disease is binge drinking. Binge drinking is typically defined as drinking four or five drinks within two hours.
Binge drinking leads a persons blood alcohol content to heighten to dangerous levels. In turn, this may cause the kidneys to lose their function, potentially leading to acute kidney injury.
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To drink or not to drink? A common question among those with kidney issues. Research shows the combination of alcohol and kidneys could be harmful in excess. This article discusses the effects of drinking on kidney function in both the short and long term. It also discusses the question is alcohol bad for your kidneys when you have kidney disease.
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Can Alcohol Cause Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are crystals that form from some of the materials in urine. While liquor does not directly cause them, it can contribute to the increased risk for the formation of the stones. This is because the intoxicant has a high purine count. Purines are the chemical compounds that result in uric acid kidney stones. The presence of excessive amounts of purines can lead to the accumulation of uric acid, hence resulting in a kidney stone.Dehydration generally can lead to the formation of the stones. With ethanol being a dehydrating agent, calcium oxalate stones can form as a result.
Gross And Microscopic Changes
One way in which alcohol directly affects the kidneys is by altering the form and structure of this pair of organs, as demonstrated by various animal studies. For example, in an early study on dogs , investigators observed several striking alterations after chronic alcohol administration. The basement membrane of the glomerulus became abnormally thickened and was characterized by cell proliferation. Further changes included enlarged and altered cells in the kidney tubules. In another study, compared kidney structure and function in alcohol-fed and control rats. The alcohol-fed group experienced kidney swelling and significantly reduced kidney function in addition, under microscopic examination, the kidneys of alcohol-fed rats were found to have cells enlarged with increased amounts of protein, fat, and water, compared with those of the control animals.
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The Impact Of Alcohol & Drugs On The Excretory System
When you take drugs or drink alcohol, your digestive system helps to break down and metabolize these toxins. Then, the excretory system works to expel them. Commonly abused drugs can interfere with the normal functions of your digestive excretory system in specific ways.
- Cocaine can cause kidney damage and renal failure.
- Benzodiazepines can cause kidney damage through a breakdown of the muscles.
- MDMA, Molly, or ecstasy can trigger dehydration and hyperthermia, which can lead to kidney failure.
- Methamphetamine creates difficulties with kidney filtration, which can cause a buildup of toxins in the bloodstream.
- Opioids can cause muscle breakdown, kidney damage, and kidney failure.
A New Benefit For Drinking In Moderation
The study followed more than 11,000 healthy men for 14 years and found that men who averaged at least seven drinks per week had a 30% lower risk of having elevated blood creatinine levels, a marker of kidney dysfunction, compared with men who had one or fewer drinks per week.
A similar protective effect of moderate alcohol use was found for another marker of kidney health known as the glomerular filtration rate , which measures the normal filtering capacity of the kidneys.
The results appear in the May 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Researchers say the findings are contrary to previous studies that have shown alcohol use may increase the risk of kidney failure due to alcohol’s effect on increasing blood pressure. Uncontrolled blood pressure is a risk factor for kidney failure.
While high blood pressure was more common in the group of men who drank moderate amounts of alcohol, this group had a decreased risk of kidney disease.
A similar, smaller study in women showed no protective effect of alcohol use on the risk of kidney dysfunction. Two other studies that examined the link between alcohol use and kidney health showed an increased risk of kidney dysfunction and kidney failure.
Many of the heart-healthy benefits of moderate drinking have been attributed to its ability to increase HDL cholesterol levels.
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Potential Confounding Factors Of Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol consumption is a factor that can interfere with the prognosis of patients with CKD however, it is not the only factor responsible for this effect. Many factors associated with alcohol consumption, such as smoking, drug abuse, use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, high-fat diet, coffee, and energy drinks, also interfere with the prognosis of these patients .
These unhealthy behaviors are very common among alcoholics for example, people tend to smoke when they are drinking and eat calorie-dense and hypersaline foods. Bundy et al. found that illicit drug use is associated with a higher risk of CKD aggravation and all-cause mortality, while smoking is associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality than in non-smokers .
Moreover, smoking increases the oxidative stress injury caused by drinking to various organs , and it worsens the renal injury caused by alcohol abuse in patients with CKD . According to some studies, alcohol consumption was inversely associated with the risk of a low eGFR in male and female non-smokers, but they did not observe any benefit in female smokers . Current smoking may modify the potential benefits of light-to-moderate alcohol consumption , and heavy drinking combined with daily smoking appears to be associated with various chronic diseases .
What Does Alcohol Do To Your Body
Research tells us that too much alcohol even on a single occasion can affect health. When digested alcohol produces free radicals, acetaldehyde, and acetate. These compounds are toxic to the body.
Alcohol effects on the body include damage to the following organs:
Alcohol prevents communication between brain cells. As a result, the brain cannot function properly. It also causes problems with cognition, mood, and behavior.
Excessive drinking can change how blood flows to and from the heart. It can cause irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and stretch out the heart muscles.
The liver is responsible for the majority of alcohol digestion. So alcohol can damage this organ. Heavy drinking can result in liver disease.
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. This condition is caused by excess alcohol intake. It can damage the body.
Regular heavy drinking also increases the risk of certain cancers. They include
- Increases in blood pressure
Dehydration and Kidneys
Drinking can lead to alcoholic dehydration even with just a few drinks. Kidney cells need water to function. Consuming alcohol dries out the body. This can lead to kidney dysfunction.
Alcohol affects this function of the kidneys within 20 minutes of consumption. Alcohol inhibits the release of ADH. This causes the kidneys to produce diluted urine. It will also lose water it normally would keep. The loss of ADH causes parts of the kidney unable to move water back into the body.
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Is Beer Good Or Bad For Your Kidneys
Despite the risks associated with alcohol consumption, there are some benefits associated with taking a beer. Several research studies show that drinking beer can be beneficial for kidney stones because beer causes frequent urination, thus preventing their formation.Beer also develops the volume of liquid in the patients body and forces the kidney stones to pass in the urine. Hence, some amount of beer can help in the expulsion of small sized stones.This, however, does not outweigh the dangers associated with the drink as the consumption of beer can cause kidney stones through the dehydrating effect. Moreover, beer consumption does not allow to control the stone expulsion speed which can cause urinal trauma, especially if the concretes are big. It is therefore not advisable to treat these stones with beer.
Alcohol Affects The Liver Which Makes Kidneys Work Harder To Filter Blood
A liver is a major organ which can be affected by excess alcohol consumption. When the liver is affected and unable to handle the amount of ethanol consumed, the kidneys take over some part of its work. The rate of blood flow to the part of the body is kept at a constant level for it to filter blood. When the liver is impaired, the balancing act is affected, hence overworking the organ, which leads to its dysfunction.
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Effects Of Alcohol Consumption On Ckd Incidence
Many studies have confirmed that unhealthy diet and lifestyle can cause various diseases, and heavy alcohol consumption is one of the important factors . As an influential factor of many chronic diseases, alcohol consumption has been increasingly studied in recent years. Many studies have shown that alcohol consumption is related to cardiovascular disease, urinary protein, and CKD . This review focused on 21 clinical studies of the relationship between alcohol consumption and CKD, including 13 cohort studies and 8 cross-sectional studies. The characteristics of the study design and other details of these studies are presented in .
How Much Alcohol Is Too Much
When experts talk about one drink, they are talking about one 12-ounce bottle of beer, one glass of wine , or one shot of “hard liquor.”
Having more than three drinks in a day for women, and more than four drinks in a day for men, is considered “heavy” drinking. The kidneys of heavy drinkers have to work harder. Heavy drinking on a regular basis has been found to double the risk for kidney disease.
Binge drinking can raise a person’s blood alcohol to dangerous levels. This can cause a sudden drop in kidney function known as “acute kidney injury.” When this happens, dialysis is needed until a person’s kidney function returns to normal. Acute kidney injury usually goes away in time, but in some cases, it can lead to lasting kidney damage.
Some people should not drink at all. Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe for you to drink, especially if you have a medical condition or take medicines that might be affected by using alcohol. Women, older people, and those with smaller bodies should be especially careful. Of course, pregnant women are advised not to drink alcohol.
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What Color Is Urine When Your Kidneys Are Failing
When kidneys are failing, the increased concentration and accumulation of substances in urine lead to a darker color which may be brown, red or purple. The color change is due to abnormal protein or sugar, high levels of red and white blood cells, and high numbers of tube-shaped particles called cellular casts.
Influence Of Alcoholism On The Prognosis Of Patients With Ckd
Although many studies have shown that alcoholism causes proteinuria and increases the risk of CKD in healthy people, other studies have also shown that alcohol consumption is one of the protective factors for patients with CKD. Migliori et al. observed a decrease of inflammatory parameters in patients with CKD after consuming extra-virgin olive oil and white wine, due to the simple phenol that inhibits activity on proinflammatory cytokines. The same cardiovascular protective effects are found in red wine . However, some researchers observed that the protective effect of alcohol consumption on patients with CKD is not limited to red wine, and the protective effect of alcohol consumption in patients with CKD is more obvious with the increase of alcohol consumption . Persistent alcohol consumption remained significantly associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality in patients with CKD . Although alcohol consumption leads to hypertriglyceridemia in patients with CKD, which is associated with low eGFR and albuminuria, daily alcohol intake still reduces the risk of disease progression . Other studies discovered that heavy drinking cannot further reduce CKD risk, which enforces the hypothesis that moderate alcohol consumption is best for patients with CKD . Light alcohol consumption in women and moderate alcohol consumption in men are associated with improved indices of eGFR in patients .
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What Can You Do
Always check with your healthcare provider to make sure it is safe for you to drink alcohol. Even if it is safe, it is important to drink in moderation. A good guideline is: no more than one to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women and people over 65.
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Consuming Too Much Sugar
Sugar is another substance that can cause serious harm to your kidneys.
Not only does it provide excess calories that can put stress on your kidneys.
But high doses of fructose have been linked to kidney damage.
This is because when you eat too much fructose, the liver converts some of it into fat which accumulates around the kidneys and may interfere with their function.
This is why its so important to limit your sugar intake.
And avoid foods that contain high fructose corn syrup which can be found in sodas, baked goods, and many processed snacks.
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