Kidneys and alcohol

Your kidneys are some of the body organs that can get affected by consumption of alcohol. An occasional drink may not cause serious harm, but too much can have serious health repercussions on your kidney.

How are the kidneys harmed by alcohol?

The function of the kidney in your body is to screen all harmful items from your blood and alcohol is one of them. Alcohol affects how your kidney functions and becomes less effective in filtering the blood. Retaining an adequate amount of water in your body is also another function of the kidney and alcohol affects this function too. Alcohol causes your body to dehydrate and this draining effect can alter the functions of body organs including the kidney.
Consuming too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure and this is known to cause kidney disease. Alcohol affects most medication for blood pressure and if you consume alcohol in combination with these medicines, you increase the risk of having severe kidney disease. If you consume more than two drinks each day your chances of getting high blood pressure are high.
The amount of blood flowing in your kidney is usually maintained at certain levels to allow if filter blood efficiently. The liver is responsible for this function and excessive drinking causes liver disease thereby affecting the regulation of blood flow and thus causes kidney dysfunction. In actual fact, a lot of alcohol dependents are patients in the United States suffering from both liver disease and associated kidney dysfunction.

What is considered as too much alcohol?

According to experts, one drink equals one 12-ounce bottle of beer, one 5 ounces glass of wine or one 1.5 ounces shot of hard liquor.
Heavy drinking can be termed as taking more than three drinks in a day for women and more than four drinks a day for men. All those who indulge in heavy drinking habits subject their kidneys to excess work and continuous excessive consumption of alcohol increases the risk of kidney disease.
Binge drinking increases your blood alcohol to very unsafe points and can lead to abrupt kidney dysfunction called “acute kidney injury” where a person must undergo a dialysis so as to restore the function of the kidney back to normal. It is possible to recover from an acute kidney injury but there are some cases where the recovery is nil leading to chronic kidney damage.
There are some medical conditions that do not permit patients to drink even the least amount of alcohol. Older people and those with small bodies are advised not to indulge in alcohol consumption as well as pregnant women.

What is the way forward?

It is advisable to consult your medical doctor if you can take alcoholic drinks. And even when he says you are in the safe to indulge, the onus is on you to take it in moderation. A safe principle to apply is a maximum of two drinks each day for men and at least one drink for women and anyone with 65 years and above.

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