Many people know that excessive alcohol consumption can be harmful to a person’s health. This can include harm to an individual’s kidneys. While a few drinks every now and then will likely not significantly impact a person’s health, alcohol abuse and addiction can affect kidneys and even worsen kidney disease. Seeking treatment through programs such as those offered by Vertava Health can help individuals address their alcohol use disorder and reclaim their health.
Does Alcohol Affect The Kidneys?
The kidneys are responsible for a number of vital functions in the body. To begin, the kidneys are responsible for filtering out harmful substances and toxins from the body and blood. The kidneys are also responsible for maintaining a healthy level of water in the body. When any of these functions are impaired, the whole body can suffer.
Alcohol negatively affects the kidneys in a number of ways. Alcohol can decrease the kidney’s ability to filter out harmful substances, including the alcohol itself. It can also cause changes in the kidneys that reduce their filtering capabilities and cause them to work harder. This can result in toxins being built up in the blood.
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Additionally, alcohol’s dehydrating effects can impact the kidneys’ ability to maintain normal water levels in the body. This dehydration can also negatively affect other organs and cells within the body.
Chronic alcohol abuse can also increase the risk of high blood pressure. In fact, more than two drinks a day has been shown to contribute to the development of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the most common causes of kidney disease.
Last but certainly not least, alcohol can cause liver disease, which in turn can increase the burden placed on the kidneys. Liver disease can reduce the kidneys’ ability to maintain a healthy level of blood flow, which in turn can impair the kidneys’ ability to filter out blood in a healthy way. Many Americans who have both liver disease and kidney damage suffer from alcohol abuse and dependence.
The Relationship Between Alcohol Abuse And Kidney Disease
Kidney disease can be caused by a number of factors, with one of them being chronic alcohol abuse. While many other factors, such as family history and lifestyle, also affect a person’s chance of developing kidney disease, alcohol can significantly increase a person’s susceptibility to this condition.
When alcohol is consumed in an unhealthy way on a regular basis, kidney issues can be exacerbated to the point of kidney damage and disease. When a person develops kidney disease, he or she may experience a number of other health issues as a result.
Health problems caused by kidney damage may include:
- chronic fatigue
- bone weakness
- damaged immune system, which can make people more susceptible to illness
- swelling in the legs, arms, and feet as a result of fluid retention
- sexual dysfunction
- central nervous system damage that can cause trouble breathing
One of the most common alcohol-related contributing factors to kidney damage and disease is binge drinking. Binge drinking involves consuming an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time. This floods the system with alcohol and drastically increases the blood alcohol content in the body. As a result, the kidneys can quickly lose their function and cause lasting damage.
Preventing Kidney Damage And Disease
Addressing or preventing kidney damage or disease as a result of chronic drinking often involves seeking treatment for alcohol abuse and addiction. There are several options available for overcoming an alcohol use disorder, including the inpatient addiction programs offered at various Vertava Health’ treatment facilities.
To learn more about the relationship between alcohol and kidneys or to get information on the treatment programs we have available for alcohol addiction, contact an Vertava Health’ treatment specialist today.