how alcohol affects the kidneys

The kidneys are the organs primarily responsible for regulating the amounts and concentrations of these substances in the extracellular fluid. You probably know someone who developed health problems from drinking too much alcohol. Alcohol can impact many different parts of the body, but most commonly it damages the liver and can lead to a condition called cirrhosis. Ethanol administration in rats showed particular alterations in the renal antioxidant system and glutathione status [4,5]. Polyphenols, which are found in beverages, such as red wine, also have antioxidant effects [6,7].

Oxidative damage after chronic ethanol administration

People who maintain this kind of drinking habit are at double the risk for developing kidney disease compared to the general population, including moderate drinkers. This may result from high levels of toxins leading to tissue injury and inflammation. In summary, there is no exact evidence that alcohol consumption aggravates the state of CKD or increases all-cause mortality in CKD, and the protective effect of abstinence on such patients is unclear. Although many studies stated that people should not start drinking for any reason, and alcohol consumption can increase disease risk [125], we also cite many studies demonstrating the protective effects of light-to-moderate alcohol consumption in our review.

Renal Patients and Alcohol

A progressive accumulation of extracellular fluid results, and this excess fluid is sequestered primarily in the abdominal region, where it manifests as marked swelling (i.e., ascites) (see figure). In addition, excess fluid accumulates in spaces between cells, clinically manifested as swelling (i.e., edema) of the lower back and legs. As long as cirrhotic patients remain unable to excrete sodium, they will continue how alcohol affects the kidneys to retain the sodium they consume in their diet. Consequently, they will develop increasing ascites and edema and experience weight gain. In some cases, vast amounts of abdominal fluid may collect, occasionally more than 7 gallons (Epstein 1996). Each of the 2 million functional units (i.e., nephrons) in a pair of normal kidneys forms urine as it filters blood plasma of substances not needed by the body.

how alcohol affects the kidneys

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Similarly, clinicians long have noted significant kidney enlargement (i.e., nephromegaly) in direct proportion to liver enlargement among chronic alcoholic2 patients afflicted with liver cirrhosis. Laube and colleagues (1967) suggested that both cellular enlargement and cell proliferation contribute to such nephromegaly. In alcoholic patients with cirrhosis, these investigators reported a 33-percent increase in kidney weight, whereas they observed no appreciable kidney enlargement in alcoholic patients without cirrhosis compared with control subjects (Laube et al. 1967). When your liver isn’t functioning well, it can impair blood flow to your kidneys.

how alcohol affects the kidneys

You can make mocktails in a fancy glass if you want to drink something special, especially in social situations. Hydronephrosis is the result of one or two swollen kidneys due to an accumulation of urine. A blockage or obstruction prevents urine from properly draining from the kidney to the bladder. A kidney infection is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that starts in the urethra or bladder and moves to one or both kidneys. For these reasons, it’s natural that when your kidneys have to work extra hard to rid the body of excess alcohol, you may experience pain. Frequent urination that goes along with this flushing of the system can lead to dehydration.

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how alcohol affects the kidneys

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