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People have been consuming alcohol since times immemorial. However, it is only recently that they have started becoming aware of the severe implications of alcohol on the human body. According to experts, people suffering from chronic kidney disease should avoid drinking altogether.
While alcohol is known to majorly affect the liver, it can also aggravate other health issues. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) stated that when ethanol molecules enter an individual’s blood stream through the liver, they alter the function of the kidneys, thereby putting unnecessary pressure on them and damaging them slowly. As the kidneys try to compensate for the dysfunction of the liver, people suffering from an alcoholic liver disease usually have a corresponding kidney disease.
Dehydration affects kidney function
The fundamental function of the kidneys is to filter harmful substances from the blood. When alcohol enters the bloodstream, it affects kidney function thereby depleting their ability to filter blood. Apart from filtering blood, another key function of the kidneys is to balance the amount of water in the human body and alcohol impairs this particular function also. Alcohol dehydrates the body adversely affecting the normal functioning of the cells and organs, including the kidneys.
Liver ailments increase pressure on kidneys
Prolonged drinking leads to liver ailments which indirectly increases the burden on the kidneys. Usually, the rate of blood flowing to the kidneys is maintained at a stipulated level, in order for them to be able to filter blood properly. When an individual’s liver is affected, this particular balancing of the blood flow rate is impaired, thereby increasing the pressure on the kidneys.
Impaired kidney function may increase hypertension-related complications
Kidneys help in regulating the blood pressure. However, when one consumes alcohol, it interferes with the working of hypertension medicines, thereby increasing the risk of developing complications.
Heavy drinkers more likely to develop kidney disease
According to experts, when women consume more than three drinks per day, or more than seven drinks per week, it is termed as heavy drinking. In case of men, when they consume more than four drinks per day or more than 14 drinks per week, it is considered as heavy drinking.
Heavy drinkers are more susceptible to develop a kidney disease, as their kidneys need to work harder. Compared to the general population, these individuals are twice as likely to develop a kidney ailment.
Binge drinking may lead to acute kidney injury
Binge drinking increases an individual’s blood-alcohol ratio to hazardous levels. This leads to acute kidney injury which often calls for dialysis to restore normal functioning. While acute kidney injury may heal with time, it can also cause lasting kidney damage in some cases.
Binge drinking may lead to albuminuria
The Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation journal reported that binge drinking may be one of the risk factors for developing albuminuria. The latter is a condition in which the protein albumin, usually found in blood, shows up in urine. Albumin is a protein that helps fight infections, build muscles, and repair tissues.
When kidneys are in a healthy state, they keep such proteins out of urine. However, when kidneys are affected due to chronic alcohol abuse, they fail in restricting proteins like albumin from entering the urine. According to the NKF, albuminuria can be an early indication of kidney ailment that calls for nephrology intervention.
Seeking help for alcoholism
While there may be several reasons behind developing a kidney ailment, alcoholism is one of the key factors that may contribute towards the same. People who drink excessively, usually develop unhealthy lifestyles that increase the risk of kidney ailments or even lead to kidney failure. Acute kidney failure can take place within a span of few hours or a couple of days in case of individuals who drink too much. If such a condition remains untreated, it may prove to be fatal. With timely medical intervention, recovery from alcoholism is possible.
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