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How Does Alcohol Affect The Kidneys

Kidney Failure And Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol and Kidney Damage – How Does Alcohol Affect Your Kidneys?

The clinic notes that acute kidney failure as the result of alcoholism can develop in a matter of days or even hours. If untreated or if alcohol consumption continues, it can be fatal. Full recovery is possible, but there is the risk that the kidneys will be damaged beyond normal functioning.

As an example of the kind of health complications that can arise from alcohol damage to the kidneys, the Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation journal reported in 2009 that moderate-heavy alcohol consumption may be an important risk factor for albuminuria, a condition that describes the presence of a type of protein that is normally found in the blood becoming present in urine. The name is derived from albumin, a protein that is used in building muscle, fighting infection and repairing tissue.

Healthy kidneys ensure that such proteins stay out of a normal urine flow kidneys suffering from chronic alcohol abuse, on the other hand, cannot stop proteins from leaking into urine. The National Kidney Foundation warns that albuminuria can be an early sign of kidney disease, which will require nephrology treatment.

Chronic Drinking Of Alcohol And Your Kidneys

The chronic misuse of alcohol also increases blood pressure. If you drink more than 2 drinks a day, you are at risk of high blood pressure. And, high blood pressure commonly leads to kidney disease.

Furthermore, if you misuse alcohol, it can lead to liver disease. And, liver disease puts stress on the kidneys. Liver disease reduces healthy blood flow in the kidneys. For this reason, the kidneys cant filter the blood properly. Unfortunately, many Americans suffering from both liver and kidney disease also suffer from alcohol use disorder .

Does Alcohol Affect Your Kidneys Or Liver

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Assessment Of Alcohol Consumption

Kidney Reaction To Alcohol

Participants were surveyed on their alcohol consumption habits during the preceding year. Information was collected on the frequency of drinking alcoholic beverages including unrefined or refined rice wine, beer, Korean distilled liquor, wine and liquors amount per serving and the size of the drinking glass. The amount of pure alcohol in grams per day was calculated based on the frequency of alcohol consumption by alcohol type over the past year, the amount of each alcohol drink per one drinking occasion, the alcohol content of each alcoholic beverage , and ethanol density . Total alcohol intake was calculated as the sum of the amount of pure alcohol consumed per day in the form of the above beverages. Participants were categorized into four groups according to total alcohol intake: 0 g/day , 0 to< 10 g/day, 10 to< 30 g/day, and30 g/day. Based on the weekly frequency of alcohol consumption, participants were classified into four groups: non-drinkers,< 1 times/week, 13 times/week, and4 times/week. Binge drinking was defined as consuming, on average, seven or more drinks at a time for men or five or more drinks at a time for women.

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How Alcohol Affects Your Kidneys

With the holiday season in full swing, there are bound to be parties, get-togethers, and celebrations in the upcoming weeks, with many of them involving alcohol. While a drink or two at an occasional party will likely not have any serious effects on your kidneys, heavy drinking can have more serious implications on your health. Over time, the abuse of alcohol affects your kidneys in more ways than one: ranging from acute kidney failure to chronic kidney disease.

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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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.

The Role Of The Kidneys

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Kidneys? | Alcohol Effects on Body | Kidney Expert

According to the National Kidney Foundation, the kidneys have many crucial responsibilities and functions, including the following:

  • Filter blood to remove toxins and waste
  • Activate vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones
  • Regulate the concentration and volume of bodily fluids
  • Keep blood pressure stabilized and under control
  • Release a hormone that controls the bodys production of red blood cell
  • Maintain a balance of blood minerals and electrolytes, including potassium, phosphorus, and sodium

Each individual is born with two kidneys, but most people can survive, and even thrive, with only one.

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Preventing Kidney Damage And Disease

To keep your kidneys healthy, it is important to always check with your healthcare provider to ensure it is safe for you to consume alcohol. Even if it is safe, moderation is key. At Summit Medical Clinic, we provide consultation and ongoing care for the prevention and treatment of kidney-related diseases. Schedule an appointment by calling 630-1006 or visiting our website.

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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Symptoms You May Experience

The areas around your kidneys may feel sore after you drink alcohol. This is the area at the back of your abdomen, under your ribcage on both sides of your spine. This pain may be felt as a sudden, sharp, stabbing pain or more of a dull ache. It may be mild or severe and can be felt on one or both sides of the body.

Kidney pain may be felt in the upper or lower back or between the buttocks and lower ribs. The pain may be felt immediately after consuming alcohol or after youve stopped drinking. Sometimes it gets worse at night.

Other symptoms include:

There are many causes of kidney pain. Its important to understand the reason for your discomfort in case its a sign of something serious. Read on to learn more about these conditions and how to treat them.

Should I Be Concerned About The Health Risks Of Drinking Alcohol

The Effect Of Alcohol On Your Kidneys

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.

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Alcohol And Kidney Stones

Anyone that has either had kidney stones or knows someone that has had kidney stones knows just how excruciatingly painful having them is. While they are called kidney stones, they are actually crystals that form from some of the materials in urine and come together in the shape of a stone.

Kidney stones typically form as a result of there being too much waste material and not enough liquid in the kidneys. This causes the urine to join together to form these crystals. The most common materials involved in kidney stones are calcium, urate, cystine, phosphate, oxalate, and xanthine.

While there is no definitive correlation between alcohol and the formation of kidney stones, alcohol can contribute to increased risk for the formation of stones in a variety of ways. The biggest contributor to the formation of kidney stones is through beer and grain alcohol. These two types of alcohols have high purine counts which can lead to the build-up and formation of uric acid kidney stones.

How Does Alcohol Affect The Throat

Also referred to as ethanol, alcohol is associated with a variety of health problems. However, those who are dependent or addicted to alcohol often struggle to quit drinking, even if they do experience certain health repercussions. Alcohol acts as a central nervous system depressant when consumed in large amounts. It produces sedative, pleasurable, and relaxing side effects otherwise referred to as a buzz. Over time, chronic ethanol abuse can cause permanent damage to the liver, kidneys, pancreas, and even the throat. Below are some long-term effects of alcohol on the esophagus.

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How Many Units Can You Drink

Alcohol units were first introduced in the UK in 1987 to help the public keep track of their alcohol consumption.

Units explain the amount of pure alcohol in your drink. The size of your drink and the strength of the alcohol can affect the number of units, so its important to check this if youre keeping track each week.

Currently, men and women shouldnt consume more than 14 units in a week. You should aim to spread your drinking over 3 days or more. And you can cut down your alcohol consumption by having a few drink-free days in the week.

How To Protect The Kidneys From Alcohols Effects

Real Question: Can Daily Drinking Damage My Kidneys?

The simple solution for protecting kidneys from the damaging effect of long-term alcoholic consumption is to stop drinking. This may not be practical for some moderate drinkers, although heavy drinkers and those who have been diagnosed as alcoholic or alcohol-dependent may be more motivated to change their lifestyle, get professional treatment and learn to live alcohol-free.

Anyone who wants to be as healthy as possible can help prevent the damage alcohol may do over the long-term by cutting back on the amount and frequency of alcohol they consume.

Simply eating a meal before heavy drinking will not exert a protective effect. Over time, excessive alcohol consumption will exact a toll on the body. Avoiding the combination of drugs and alcohol, including prescription medications, is another way to provide some protection for the kidneys due to the one-two punch of these powerful substances.

Those with existing kidney problems, diabetics and other risk factors should be wary of drinking alcohol. Always check with the doctor before deciding that drinking is an acceptable risk. It may not be, particularly for your kidneys.

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How Alcohol Use Affects The Kidneys

Alcohol use and addiction can significantly impact a persons health, including his or her kidneys. The more a person drinks, the more likely he or she is to experience kidney damage or the escalation of kidney disease. Treatment programs like those offered by Vertava Health can help individuals overcome alcohol addiction and increase their overall health and wellness.

Many people know that excessive alcohol consumption can be harmful to a persons health. This can include harm to an individuals kidneys. While a few drinks every now and then will likely not significantly impact a persons health, alcohol use and addiction can affect kidneys and even worsen kidney disease. Seeking treatment through programs such as those offered by Vertava Health can help individuals address their alcohol use disorder and reclaim their health.

Treatment Options For Alcohol Misuse & Addiction

Alcoholism can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the number of symptoms you experience.

Signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder may include:3

  • Struggling to lessen the amount of alcohol you consume
  • Aiming to cut down on how much alcohol you consume or making unsuccessful attempts to do so
  • Spending a lot of time drinking, looking for alcohol, or recovering from alcohol use
  • Experiencing a strong craving or urge to drink alcohol
  • Struggling or failing to fulfill essential obligations at work, school, or home due to consistent alcohol use
  • Continuing to drink even though you know it is leading to physical, social, or interpersonal issues
  • Giving up or lessening social and work activities and hobbies
  • Drinking alcohol in situations where it is unsafe, such as when driving or swimming
  • Developing alcohol tolerance so you require more to feel its effect, or you have a reduced impact from the same amount
  • Getting withdrawal symptoms when you do not drink or drink to avoid these symptoms

There are various treatment options for alcohol misuse and addiction, including:10

  • Medications

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Your Chances Of Getting Kidney Stones Increase With The Quantum Of Alcohol

The more you drink alcohol, the greater the chances of your getting kidney stones. The reason is very simple. Substituting alcohol for water can dehydrate you as it acts as a diuretic. You can prevent getting kidney stones by drinking copious quantities of water. Substituting water with alcohol would be counterproductive as your body would be constantly losing water. If your diet has too much salt in conjunction with high alcohol consumption, then your chances of developing kidney stones increase as it causes greater quantity of calcium in your urine. Further, you need to avoid foods high in phosphates like beans, dairy products, and nuts and those which are high in oxalate, such as potato chips, French fries, beets, spinach, and nuts like the plague if your uric acid level is high. This combination of calcium and oxalates leads to the formation of renal calculi.Alcohol might adversely affect magnesium exchange in the kidney tubules caused by a marked increase of magnesium excretion in the urine, leading to hypomagnesemia.

So Where Does Alcohol Come Into All This

How does drinking alcohol affect the functioning of ...

Alcohol will make you urinate far more than you normally do causing a fluid imbalance in your body. This puts unnecessary strain on the kidneys. It causes you to lose vital electrolytes, while tricking the other parts of your body into retaining water. Net result is that you end up feeling bloated, while the water content in your blood diminishes. Ironically, your skin begins to look parched and wrinkled as it fails to retain sufficient moisture. This means that your kidneys have to filter greater concentrations of toxins in a smaller amount of time. The chemical and mechanical damage caused to your kidneys is incalculable.

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Kidney Pain Kidney Stones And Kidney Infections: An Alcohol Link

What about the kidney pain some people claim to feel after a night of drinking? According to Dr. Bobart, theres no research to suggest a link between alcohol and kidney pain. But alcohol acts as a diuretic and can leave you dehydrated.

Similarly, theres minimal evidence to suggest that alcohol increases the risk of kidney stones or kidney infections. We do know that people who dont drink enough fluids have a greater chance of developing kidney stones. So, people who drink heavily and are often dehydrated may be at greater risk though the science of alcohols role in kidney stones is still unclear, he adds.

What is clear is that heavy drinking takes a toll on your organs, kidneys included. Many people drink more than they realize. In the U.S., heavy drinking is defined as:

  • For women: More than seven drinks per week or more than three drinks in a single day.
  • For men: More than 14 drinks per week, or more than four drinks in a single day.

I urge anyone who has any trouble with alcohol to seek medical help, says Dr. Bobart. Doing so is nothing to be ashamed of. We have a lot of avenues to help people, and there are resources out there to get people the help they need.


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