Alcohol and Kidneys | Does Alcohol Affect Kidneys?
When you drink, particularly in excess, there’s rarely any part of your body that isn’t impacted by it in some way — including all of your vital organs. So what about alcohol and your kidneys? Does alcohol affect kidneys, and if it does, how so?
The kidneys keep the levels of electrolytes stable in your blood. They keep the bones strong and produce hormones responsible for the regulation of blood pressure and the creation of red blood cells.The kidneys filter more than one hundred quarts of blood a day.
Whenever you use any drug or substance, it’s filtered through their kidneys as well. This is why drugs like heroin and prescription medications can cause damage to the kidneys. People who do drugs for long periods of time often have kidney damage and failure. Of course, it’s not just drugs that can cause kidney problems and failure. A diet with too much salt and sugar can also impact the kidneys.
When someone has kidney failure, also known as chronic kidney disease, their kidneys are no longer able to properly remove waste from the blood and control body fluid levels. This can necessitate dialysis or a transplant.
Some of the symptoms of kidney failure may include fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, sleep problems and trouble concentrating. Other symptoms may include swelling of the legs and ankles, kidney pain and changes in urine.
Some of the over-the-counter drugs that can damage the kidneys include ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen.Heroin is an illicit drug that can also cause significant damage to the kidneys, along with cocaine.
What about alcohol and kidneys? Does alcohol affect kidneys?
Alcohol is just one substance filtered by the kidneys and drinking can change the functionality of your kidneys so they’re not able to filter blood as efficiently or effectively. When you drink, it affects the kidneys’ ability to manage how much water is in your body. Alcohol dehydrates your body, which can also have an impact on your kidneys.
When you drink too much, it can also cause high blood pressure, which is one of the main causes of kidney disease.
Alcohol and kidneys affect other areas of the body too, as the liver can become damaged or diseased with too much drinking. When you have a malfunction of your liver or any kind of liver damage, it can then affect the ability of your kidneys to filter blood.
While alcohol and the kidneys can have an effect on one another, moderate drinking isn’t usually connected with an impact on the kidneys. The problem, however, is that people tend to overestimate how much is considered moderate drinking.
One drink is considered one 12-ounce beer, a glass of wine that’s around five ounces or a shot of distilled spirits around 1.5 ounces. Having more than three drinks in a day for women or more than four drinks in a day for a man is considered heavy drinking.
A lot of people might not even realize that what they’re drinking is classified not as moderate drinking but as heavy.
When you drink heavily, your kidneys must work significantly harder, which could increase your chances of developing kidney disease.
While we generally think of the long-term effects of alcohol on the kidneys, there are short-term adverse outcomes as well. For example, if you binge drink (consuming more than four or five drinks within two hours), it can cause your kidney function to drop suddenly. This is referred to as acute kidney injury. You may need dialysis for kidney function to go back to normal. In some cases, this injury goes away, while in others the damage can be long-term.
When it comes to alcohol and kidneys, alcohol is a toxin. When you drink excessively, it’s difficult for your body to eliminate the resulting waste, and the toll can be heavy on your kidneys.So does alcohol affect kidneys? Yes, it does, in both the short and the long-term. If you need help overcoming alcohol misuse or addiction, there are resources available. Call The Recovery Village to learn more about comprehensive rehabilitation programs.
Have more questions about Alcohol abuse?Read the most frequently asked questions
See alsoSee more topics
Seeking addiction treatment can feel overwhelming. We know the struggle, which is why we're uniquely qualified to help.
Your call is confidential, and there's no pressure to commit to treatment until you're ready. As a voluntary facility, we're here to help you heal -- on your terms. Our sole focus is getting you back to the healthy, sober life you deserve, and we are ready and waiting to answer your questions or concerns 24/7.Speak with an Intake Coordination Specialist now.352.771.2700