Alcohol and Its Effects on the Kidneys

Posted on: February 14, 2020 by in Alcoholism Treatment
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The kidneys, kidney bean shaped organs, are located in the back area of the abdominal cavity. They are encased in fatty tissue with the last two ribs creating a protective “cage.” The kidneys have multiple functions – the most important being filtering the blood of wastes and creating urine as a way of excreting (or getting rid of) the waste.

What is the kidney’s job with alcohol?

The kidneys act as the body’s filter, from filtering medications to maintaining fluid balance. Kidneys have millions of tiny filters that filter the blood and remove the waste – creating urine. Alcohol acts as a diuretic and with the kidneys having to work harder to filter out this substance (creating more urine), an individual is more likely to become dehydrated. With the individual becomes dehydrated, acute kidney injury can happen, damaging some of the tiny filters in the kidneys.

What happens when it’s too much alcohol for the kidneys?

When an individual drinks more than the recommended amount of alcohol, the kidneys are at an increased risk for becoming damaged from dehydration due to the alcohol consumption. When the kidneys are damaged, it is referred to as an acute kidney injury. Fixing the dehydration can reverse this; however, when repeatedly damaged, it is referred to as chronic kidney disease and cannot be reversed. This can also put an individual at risk for high blood pressure, which can put strain on other organs including the liver, heart, and brain. Some signs of dehydration are increased thirst, dry mouth, increased heart rate, and fatigue. It is important to remain within the recommended drinking amount and if experiencing any abnormal symptoms, to make an appointment with a medical provider.

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