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.
Alcohol And Kidney Damage
Thats where alcohol comes in and does some damage.
In the normal function of the body, water will come out of your body in just different ways. it comes out in urine and your poop, it comes out when you sweat, and it comes out when youre breathing.
So the basic principles behind keeping you balanced, keeping you hydrated, is that when youre thirsty, your brain is telling you to drink, to drink water.
When you havent got enough water in your system the brain will send a message down to the kidneys which releases a hormone which in turn holds on to water.
When youve got enough water and youve been drinking and youre fully hydrated, it sends a message to your kidneys to stop producing the same hormones, so its all balanced out.
You can see the state of your body in your urine when you are peeing out. If you look at your urine and its a very dark colour, you can see the waste coming out, and it really means that youre dehydrated.
So you need to drink more water. Your wee should always be coming out clear. If your wee is not clear, you need to drink more water.
Alcohol is definitely not good for the kidneys, it can cause all sorts of wild fluctuations in the water supply in your body, through the diuretic effect of alcohol, and it can also affect your kidneys in relation to diabetes.
Diabetes is the number one reason for kidney failure and it can also be the cause of high blood pressure and high blood pressure is the second highest reason for kidney failure.
Getting Treatment For Alcohol Use Disorder
For many people, it can be tough to admit that they have a problem and get the help that they need. They might be in denial and think that they have their drinking under control, or they might even be embarrassed by the fact that they have allowed alcohol to take over their lives and are afraid to ask for help.
For friends, family, and loved ones of a person suffering it can be even more difficult. They see someone they care about struggling and they cant do much in the way of helping to fix it.
The good news is that there are many different treatment options out there should you decide that it is time to get the help you need in addressing your alcoholism. Its helpful to look at some of the steps you can take to get treated for alcoholism.
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Chronic Kidney Disease: Alcohols Effect On Kidneys
If you continue to drink regularly or have a chronic alcohol use disorder, youre at risk of chronic kidney disease. The stress put on your kidneys over time forces them to work harder. This stress also damages the liver.
Chronic kidney disease is a severe condition. But, above all, it is life-threatening. If you have chronic kidney disease from alcohol, its essential to seek treatment for both conditions.
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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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.
Alcohols Effect On Your Kidneys
Your kidneys handle many vital functions for your body. For instance, your kidneys filter out toxins and other harmful substances from your blood and body. They also help your body maintain a healthy level of water. However, if your kidneys are damaged in any way, your whole body suffers.
If you drink alcohol regularly or you misuse alcohol, it affects your kidneys in many ways. Alcohols effect on your kidneys can limit their ability to filter toxins, including alcohol. Alcohol also causes changes to the kidneys. However, these changes reduce the kidneys filtering ability. This change causes them to work harder. As a result, toxins start to build in your blood.
Additionally, dehydration is another one of alcohols effects on your kidneys. This effect makes it hard to keep normal water levels in the body. As a result, other organs and cells in your body are poorly affected.
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Binge Drinking Alcohol And Kidney Disease
If you are a binge drinker, then you put yourself in the increasing danger of kidney disease. Binge drinking is consuming 4 to 5 plus drinks an hour. However, binge drinking floods your body with alcohol and increases BAC drastically. As a result, your kidneys cant keep up and lose their function. This damage from alcohol on your kidneys causes lasting damage.
Does Beer Hurt Your Kidneys
Alcohol such as in beer is considered bad for your overall health, including for kidneys. However, it may not be always bad. The answer is dependent on the way of how you drink. For instance, if we drink it in moderation, we may do more good than harm! On the other hand, heavy drinking does hurt the kidneys.
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How Alcohol Affects The Kidneys
One of the toxins that kidneys filter from the blood is alcohol. While a drink or two now and then is probably safe for most people, heavy drinking, binge drinking and chronic drinking is bound to wreak havoc on the kidneys. Alcohol counteracts the kidneys toxin-filtering capacity, thus setting the stage for further damage and increased risk of medical complications.
Besides the kidneys filtering of toxins function, they also help maintain the right amount of water in the body. Alcohol has a drying effect, which can seriously impair the kidneys ability to keep bodily fluids in balance. Dehydration from alcohol affects not only the kidneys, but hampers the functioning of other organs and cells.
Another negative effect of alcohol consumption on the kidneys is what it does to blood pressure. Drinking alcohol to excess can lead to an increase in blood pressure. Alcoholics and heavy drinkers are more likely to have high blood pressure than moderate drinkers or those who abstain from drinking alcohol. Over time, this can lead to chronic high blood pressure. One of the common causes of kidney disease is high blood pressure.
Alcohol May Affect The Acid
Kidneys play an essential role in determining the rate at which metabolic reactions take place by regulating acidity. This is because substantial metabolic reactions that are important in life are sensitive to the acidity of the surrounding fluid.The bodies metabolic balance interferes with the use of liquor, which changes the regulation of acidity.
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The Relationship Between Alcohol Use And Kidney Disease
Kidney disease can be caused by a number of factors, with one of them being chronic alcohol use. While many other factors, such as family history and lifestyle, also affect a persons chance of developing kidney disease, alcohol can significantly increase a persons susceptibility to this condition.
When alcohol is consumed in an unhealthy way on a regular basis, kidney issues can be exacerbated to the point of kidney damage and disease. When a person develops kidney disease, he or she may experience a number of other health issues as a result.
Health problems caused by kidney damage may include:
- damaged immune system, which can make people more susceptible to illness
- swelling in the legs, arms, and feet as a result of fluid retention
- sexual dysfunction
What Do Your Kidneys Do
I think everybody knows that there are certain organs in your body that you cant do without, theres your brain, your lungs, your heart, and your kidneys are also one of those organs.
Kidneys normally come in pairs, theyre shaped like a red kidney bean, if you know what that looks like, you know what a kidney that looks like. Theyre about 5 inches long, 3 inches wide and theyre positioned one on either side of your spine.
If you put your hands on your hips, with your thumbs on your back, move your hands upwards until you touch your ribs and press your thumbs into your back at that point, thats generally where your kidneys are. You wont be able to feel them but thats where they are.
The basic job of your kidneys is to clean your blood of a lot of the waste that goes in. The nutrients basically go into your body, there are a lot of chemical reactions that take place, and the chemical reactions produce a lot of waste, so thats one form of waste that your kidneys have to deal with.
Another form is just some of the nutrients and other stuff thats in your body that your body doesnt need so your body will expel it.
The blood goes into your kidneys through the renal artery, so anything that is called renal is to do with your kidneys.
Theres about a gallon and a half of blood going through your system at any one time, thats the average person and your kidneys will basically go through that about 400 times, in one day.
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Kidney Structure And Function
Cushioned in fatty tissue near the base of the spinal column, the kidneys are efficiently designed organs that perform two primary tasks in the body: excretion of metabolic end products and precise regulation of body fluid constituents. As they accomplish these tasks, the kidneys form and collect urine, which exits through the ureters to the bladder.
Each of the 2 million functional units in a pair of normal kidneys forms urine as it filters blood plasma of substances not needed by the body. Within each nephron, blood plasma enters a tiny ball of unusually permeable capillaries , filters into a capsule that surrounds the glomerulus, then flows through a long, looping conduit called the nephron tubule.
The kidneys continuously perform their tasks of purifying and balancing the constituents of the bodys fluids. Although resilient, the kidneys can deteriorate as a result of malnutrition, alcohol abuse or dependence, or liver and other diseases. Healthy kidneys are vital to the function of all the bodys organs and systems.
Mary Beth de Ribeaux
How Much Is Too Much
According to research, a lady should have less than three drinks in a day to keep the kidneys healthy, which translates to less than seven drinks per week. For a man, less than four drinks in a day and less than fourteen in a week is considered to be an amount that will not hurt. Excessive drinking overworks the organ, thus increasing the risk of kidney diseases.Blood alcohol levels can also shoot to a dangerous level through binge drinking. This results in a quick kidney malfunction for which dialysis is administered to return the kidneys to normal function.It is important to always consult the health provider on the amount that one can take, without compromising their health. This depends not only on the personal health conditions but also on medications prescribed. Many medications can seriously harm kidneys when combined with alcohol. It is important to always drink in moderation.
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Treating Alcohol Use Disorder At Discovery Institute
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, we can help. All it takes is one phone call. Our caring staff is waiting to show you how to take your life back. Contact us today for more treatment information.
Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD
Dr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.
How Can Kidney Disease Be Prevented
Preventing the risk of kidney disease entails taking care of your heart and weight. This might mean eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, exercising, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption. For most people, simply scaling back drinks to one or two a week is enough to dodge this particular bullet. For many others, especially those who are struggling with alcoholism or who have a history of alcoholism in the family, a complete ban on alcohol might be the safest option.
WebMD also recommends getting tested regularly, especially if you have a higher chance of developing kidney disease than the general population. If you have a history of kidney problems in your family, if you have other kidney-related problems like diabetes or high blood pressure, or if you are dealing with alcohol abuse, regular testing can uncover the warning signs of kidney disease, opening the door to preventative treatment.
Testing can include urine tests to check the chemical composition of urine, an imbalance of which would suggest that the kidneys are in trouble blood pressure readings and glucose tests to measure blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C, which shows the average blood sugar level in the last three months.
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Can Alcohol Cause Kidney Damage
Drinking alcohol affects various parts of your body, including your kidneys. Moderate drinking, such as one or two drinks now and then, usually has no severe effects. However, too much alcohol can affect your health and worsen kidney disease.
How Much Alcohol Leads to Kidney Damage?
Even without binge drinking, regularly drinking too much can lead to kidney problems.
Regular excessive drinking doubles the risk of chronic kidney disease, which does not go away over time. Even higher risks of kidney problems have been found in heavy drinkers who also smoke.
What are the Signs of Alcohol-Induced Kidney Damage?
Aside from kidney pain, an individual with acute kidney injury may also notice the following signs and symptoms:
- Swollen legs, ankles, or face
- Problems breathing or shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Chest pressure or pain
When to See a Doctor
The kidneys are the bodys essential tool for filtering out dangerous substances. Problems affecting the kidneys can quickly impact the rest of the body, potentially leading to problems in multiple organs.
Contact a doctor if you experience:
- Pain in the kidneys
- A recent blow to the back that leads to pain in the kidneys
- A fever with kidney pain
Go to the emergency room or urgent care for:
- Signs of acute kidney injury following drinking
- Intense pain in the back or kidneys
- A high fever and kidney pain
- High blood pressure and kidney pain
- Loss of consciousness
- Changes in awareness
- A seizure
The Kidney Balancing Act
Another job that your kidneys are responsible for is homeostasis. Thats balancing out the minerals and the water in your body.
They say that if you put the amount of water that you take into your body on one side of the scale and the amount of water youre passing out of your body on the other side of the scale that both sides should balance equally.
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The Need To Monitor Kidney Function With Certain Drugs
Experts have suggested that after the initial assessment of kidney function, physicians should consider regular monitoring after starting or increasing the dosage of drugs associated with nephrotoxicity, especially those used chronically in patients with multiple risk factors for impaired kidney function, Dr. Naughton noted. If there is any sign of kidney harm, the provider should review the medications you are taking in order to identify which one is causing the problem.
If multiple medications are present and the patient is clinically stable, physicians should start by discontinuing the drug most recently added to the patients medication regimen. Once that has been taken care of, further harm to the kidneys may be minimized by keeping blood pressure stable, staying hydrated, and temporarily avoiding the use of other medications that may cause nephrotoxicity.
These safety tips can ensure you get the care you need while keeping your kidneys safe. That way, they can tend to essential functions like keeping things flowing .Originally published May 11, 2017