Drinking too much alcohol can take a serious toll on your overall health and wellness. It can interfere with the brain’s communication pathways, damage the heart, lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammation, and cause the pancreas to produce toxic substances. But the effects of alcohol don’t just stop there. Alcohol consumption can also compromise kidney function and lead to kidney stones, kidney failure, and even chronic kidney disease.
How the Kidneys Work
The kidneys are responsible for many functions within the body, with the most important ones being the removal of metabolic waste products, excess minerals and excess fluid.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, the main jobs healthy kidneys perform include:
- Remove wastes and extra fluid
- Control blood pressure
- Make red blood cells
- Keep bones healthy
- Control pH levels
Alcohol’s Effect on Kidneys
The kidneys are constantly working in a healthy person. However, the kidneys of a heavy drinker may be working overtime, as the kidneys have to work harder to filter out the alcohol. In some cases, constant alcohol consumption can overwhelm the kidneys, reducing their ability to function, resulting in the build-up of toxins in the blood.
Additionally, alcohol is a diuretic, which is a substance that causes increased urination. Every time you urinate, your body expels water and electrolytes. When you do not replenish your fluid loss, dehydration sets in. When your kidneys cannot maintain normal water levels due to dehydration, this can negatively affect other organs and cells within the body.
In rare cases, binge drinking, which is defined as consuming four or five drinks within two hours, can contribute to kidney disease. Binge drinking brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration to dangerous levels, which may cause a sudden drop in kidney function, which is known as acute kidney injury.
Contact KHC Today!
The Kidney and Hypertension Center physicians provide comprehensive care in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of the full spectrum of kidney-related conditions.
Our expansive expertise and compassionate service allows us to guide patients throughout their kidney journey, from their initial consultation through treatment of all aspects of kidney disease. Request an appointment today!