How Alcohol Can Affect the Kidneys – Credihealth Blog

Over 85 percent of people will report drinking at some point during their lifetime, with over a quarter of men and over 20 percent of women reporting that they’ve binge drunk in the past month. Obviously, alcohol use is a common thing across the nation. Because of this, it is important to ensure that if you are using alcohol you are aware of the potential problems it can cause and are doing what you can to reduce your risk of problems like kidney failure. 

Alcohol is a substance that affects nearly every organ in the body and can lead to an increased risk of numerous dangerous problems including cancer, liver failure, alcohol addiction, and kidney failure.

Having a few drinks every so often usually will not lead to serious effects. However, drinking too often or to excess can affect your health and can potentially lead to kidney-related issues, even failure in some cases. 

Alcohol addiction is a serious problem that millions suffer from.

Let’s take a closer look at the effects that alcohol can have on the kidneys.

Alcohol and the Kidneys

Alcohol consumption in nearly any form, mild to excessive, can lead to compromised liver function, but what does this exactly mean? 

One of the functions of the kidneys is to filter harmful substances from the blood, this includes alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the more the it affects the functioning of this organ leading to less filtration of the blood. Along with this, alcohol also dehydrates your body, further hindering the normal functioning of your kidneys and other organs.

The Kidneys and Other Organs

Drinking too much alcohol can also impact blood pressure, elevating it – a common cause of kidney disease. Not only is alcohol use affecting kidneys directly, but also indirectly through the other consequences that can occur. Along with heightened blood pressure, alcohol use has a serious effect on the liver functioning and can actually lead to major liver damage and even cirrhosis in some cases.

Unfortunately, in order for the kidneys to function at the highest level, they rely on the proper functioning of the liver. If there is impairment in liver function, it can lead to decreased ability of the kidneys. In fact, most patients in the United States who are diagnosed with both liver disease and kidney problems are alcohol dependent. 

For alcohol-related problems, most kidney dysfunction will occur during excessive, or binge, drinking sessions. 

Binge Drinking and Kidney Function

For those that drink alcohol, binge drinking can be a common practice – in fact, it is the most common form of excessive alcohol use in the United States. Binge drinking is abrupt excessive drinking in which a man drinks about 5 drinks or a woman drinks about 4 drinks in under 2 hours. 

Binge drinking has obvious potential health problems that include poor decision-making including car crashes, increased risk of STDs, increased violence, and more. Along with these issues, binge drinking can lead to various biological consequences, including those that affect the kidneys, including acute kidney failure.

Acute kidney failure occurs when the organs can no longer filter waste products from the blood and dangerous levels of waste can accumulate. This problem can lead to various consequences like chest pain, muscle weakness, permanent kidney failure, and even death in some cases.

Drink in Moderation

A majority of people who use alcohol don’t have a substance abuse problem; however, that doesn’t mean that they may not be harming their bodies. For those who are drinking, just be sure that you are drinking responsibly and in moderation. Even just two drinks a day can increase your chance of kidney disease. 

While drinking excessively can lead to dangerous kidney issues, it can also cause a number of other problems to various other areas of the body. Since alcohol affects nearly every organ in the body it can lead to problems with the heart, liver, brain, and more. 

If you use alcohol, be careful with your intake and be sure that you are also drinking water to reduce dehydration. 

Get Help If Needed

While a majority of people who drink may not be considered alcoholics, for those that do deal with those problems it is important to get help immediately. Alcohol addiction is not something to take lightly, it is a problem that can affect nearly anyone.

If you believe that you or a loved one is suffering from some type of alcohol addiction problem, it is vital that they get help from a treatment facility to give them the best shot at overcoming their addiction problem. 

Alcohol addiction is something that can be much too difficult for someone to overcome on their own. This is why professional addiction treatment centers are in place to help those who are struggling. With the help of evidence based clinical modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback, eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing, and more, patients can learn to overcome alcohol addiction and commit to long-term sobriety.

About the Author

Joe Gilmore is a creator on behalf of The Hope House, a drug and alcohol treatment organization in Arizona.

Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s). 

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