Effects of Alcohol on the Kidneys


“Drink moderately,” so the warning goes with every liquor advertisement.

Alcohol drinking is not all that bad. Besides, even in biblical times, alcoholic drinks were part of their social and religious celebrations.  Some present-day researches also reveal that a drink or two a day may be helpful to keep heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other dementia at bay; reduce the chances of acquiring diabetes; decrease stress, anxiety, and tension, and; build an amiable and cheerful attitude.

But then again, it should be noted, though, that alcohol drinking is not for everybody.  Some people should not consume alcohol, at all, particularly pregnant women.

Moderate drinking means not more or less than two standard drinks per day for man, and one standard drink per day for woman and older adults.  A drink can be one 12-ounce bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a shot of whiskey.  Beyond this measurement can already cause the blood pressure to rise. Anything excessive is harmful to the body. Too much alcohol intake, even for a very healthy person, can impair one’s judgment and lead to several medical conditions like heart disease; liver disease; high blood pressure, which is found to be the second leading cause of kidney disease, and; kidney problem.

Effects of Alcohol on Kidney

Studies reveal that excessive alcohol consumption can significantly affect the potency of medicines, making it difficult to manage high blood pressure; impedes the kidney from its function to maintain proper balance of body fluids and minerals; destroys kidney cells, consequently altering the structure and function of the kidneys, and; promotes constant urination that eventually results to dehydration.

Alcohol’s negative impact on the kidneys is wide, ranging from cell destruction and kidney enlargement to alterations on the hormones which control the kidney function.  It even develops ionic imbalances within the body to the point of adversely affecting several metabolic processes. Within twenty minutes of alcohol consumption, a person is induced to urinate, requiring the kidneys to generate more urine than usual.  This consequently causes alteration in the concentration of electrolytes in the blood, specifically the anti-diuretic hormone, which holds the kidneys to store up fluids. The levels of electrolytes, such as sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium are adversely disrupted in the process, affecting all cells, particularly the neurons in the brain, which depend largely on its stability.  Once this disruption occurs, the brain will have difficulty controlling the bodily processes and; therefore, changes in the behaviour take place. If the person is unable to replenish his fluid discharges promptly, his chance of getting dehydrated is great.

To that end, if you have kidney problem and yet you find it difficult to abstain from alcohol drinking, you just have to do it moderately.  In fact, studies show that people who have chronic kidney disease, end stage renal condition, or diabetes can still enjoy occasional alcoholic beverages provided it is done in moderation.  But it is still much safer to consult with your doctor first before taking any alcoholic drink.  It is always better to be sure than sorry in the end!

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