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Alcohol’s Effects on the Body National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism NIAAA

Studies suggest that several mechanisms produce ROS in alcohol-damaged organs, including the liver (Cederbaum et al. 2009), heart (Tan et al. 2012; Varga et al. 2015), and kidney (Latchoumycandane et al. 2015). CYP2E1 is of particular interest when thinking about potential mechanisms for alcohol-related kidney damage. The body mainly metabolizes alcohol using the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, which is expressed primarily in the liver. However, during chronic ethanol consumption, the body also uses CYP2E1 in the liver as well as the kidneys.

  • The best way to prevent alcohol-related kidney failure is to limit or eliminate alcohol consumption, maintain a healthy diet and exercise regime, and manage any preexisting conditions that increase the risk of kidney disease.
  • Excess alcohol can have harmful effects on the kidneys or worsen the side effects of your cancer treatment.
  • This leads to dehydration, especially when you drink alcohol in excess.

It is well documented that chronic heavy consumption of alcohol can result in liver disease. Because the liver and kidneys work together, the effects of liver disease can extend to the renal system. For instance, it is not uncommon for individuals who have cirrhosis of the liver to also have enlarged kidneys. Individuals with liver damage as a result of cirrhosis of the liver are also at a higher risk for acute kidney failure and issues with electrolyte and sodium imbalances that can also lead to kidney damage. In contrast, some studies find that heavy alcohol consumption may predict poorer outcome in patients with chronic kidney diseases (Kronborg et al. 2008; Shankar et al. 2006; White et al. 2009). For example, White and colleagues (2009) reported that heavier drinkers (those consuming more than 30 g of alcohol/week) were at higher risk of incident albuminuria, which is typically a symptom of kidney disease.

How Alcohol Affects Kidneys

Additionally, we will explore the positive impact of reducing alcohol intake on kidney health. Lastly, we will focus on the symptoms of alcohol-related kidney damage to provide readers with a better understanding of the dangers that excessive drinking can pose to their overall health. One form of alcohol abuse that contributes to kidney disease is binge drinking, usually defined as consuming four or five drinks within two hours.

  • It can damage the kidneys, leading to a disease called alcoholic nephropathy.
  • Substantial evidence exists to support the concept that kidney failure in hepatorenal syndrome is not related to structural damage and is instead functional in nature.
  • The kidneys have an important job as a filter for harmful substances.

So, for individuals with CKD, it is important to reduce alcohol consumption to slow down the progression of the disease. It can damage kidney functionality and even cause kidney failure. Kidney stones are crystals that form from some of the materials in urine. While liquor does not directly cause them, it can contribute to the increased risk for the formation of the stones. Purines are the chemical compounds that result in uric acid kidney stones.

How Do Your Kidneys Work?

Having an occasional glass of alcohol may not cause any harmful effects if your kidney functions regularly. Still, you should talk with your doctor about the safety and impact of drinking alcohol if you already have kidney disease or kidney cancer. Alcohol-related kidney damage can have dire consequences, such as kidney failure. The amount of harm and potential for recovery depend on the severity and length of alcohol abuse. Research suggests that reducing alcohol consumption, and living a more healthy lifestyle, can slow down kidney damage and even enable some recovery.

kidneys and alcohol abuse

The kidneys also maintain the proper balance of fluid and electrolytes in the body. Additionally, we have adjusted section 4 to solely focus on symptoms of alcohol-related kidney damage in order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the condition. In the sub-section, we will provide an in-depth look at the various symptoms of alcohol-related kidney damage, and how affected individuals can identify these symptoms themselves. Limiting alcohol consumption is key for protecting kidneys from long-term harm.

Potential Mechanisms of Alcoholic Kidney Injury: Lessons From Experimental Studies

According to research, a lady should have less than three drinks in a day to keep the kidneys healthy, which translates to less than seven drinks per week. For a man, less than four drinks alcohol and kidneys in a day and less than fourteen in a week is considered to be an amount that will not hurt. Excessive drinking overworks the organ, thus increasing the risk of kidney diseases.

  • Ethanol itself markedly induces the expression of the microsomal ethanol oxidation system (CYP2E1), producing reactive oxygen species as a byproduct.
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  • Drinking alcohol to excess can lead to an increase in blood pressure.
  • Loss or retention of any one of these substances can influence the body’s handling of the others.

Abstaining from alcohol is a difficult challenge on its own, but for a person who is struggling with kidney problems, there are additional health considerations to take into account. With the passage of time and positive changes, the kidneys can return to normal, optimal functioning. WebMD also recommends getting tested regularly, especially if you have a higher chance of developing kidney disease than the general population. You may have kidney pain after drinking alcohol due to dehydration or inflammation of your stomach lining. But it can also happen if you have other health conditions, including a kidney infection.

Kidney Structure and Function

Even moderate to mild alcohol consumption will affect any existing condition of the liver, which will indirectly result in kidney damage. Chronic abuse of drugs or alcohol can lead to severe kidney damage and even to kidney failure. Substance abuse may directly damage the kidneys or may indirectly damage them through some other process, such as increased body temperature or rhabdomyolysis (the breakdown of muscle tissue in the release of cells in the bloodstream). Several epidemiological studies have shown that mild alcohol consumption benefits cardiovascular health (Coate 1993; Kannel and Ellison 1996) by reducing the risk of coronary heart disease (Mukamal et al. 2006). In contrast, heavy drinking leads to the development of nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy (Klatsky 2007) and significantly increases the risk of sudden cardiac death (Hookana et al. 2011).

  • If you believe you or someone you love may be struggling with addiction, let us hear your story and help you determine a path to treatment.
  • It can drain your accounts, ruin your relationships, destroy your career, and cost you your family.
  • If you have kidney cancer, it’s best to talk with your doctor about moderate drinking.

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