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Alcohol Use and Kidney Function

man discusses alcohol use and kidney function with doctor

The kidneys are two truly amazing organs.  They do multiple jobs critical to keeping your body running smoothly, including filtering your blood and regulating hydration.  When kidneys begin to function improperly or fail, the situation can quickly become dire. Alcohol abuse has been associated with kidney issues, and this damage can occur in several ways.  Alcohol can affect liver function directly, but may also affect other organs in the body and cause the kidneys to have to work harder to dispose of toxins in the blood. Additionally, alcohol abuse can cause long-term illnesses that have been found to cause kidney disease. Most people are aware that alcohol abuse can damage the liver, but what is less known is the connection between liver function and maintaining healthy kidneys.  Liver disease limits blood flow to the kidneys which makes it difficult for the kidneys to properly filter blood. Many people who suffer from liver disease and kidney dysfunction have struggled with alcohol abuse.  Alcohol also causes dehydration, which can impair liver function and create painful kidney stones. Kidney stones are a risk factor for a condition called hydronephrosis, in which urine is obstructed from draining into the bladder.  This can lead to painful, swollen kidneys. 

The Danger That Lies in Binge-Drinking

While kidney issues are often seen in people who regularly drink in excess, acute kidney injury can happen as a result of binge drinking as well.  Binge drinking refers to four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men. This pattern of alcohol consumption is especially dangerous and can cause the kidneys to suddenly lose function.  In these cases, kidney dialysis may be required until the kidneys have recovered. Women are especially susceptible to significant kidney damage due to alcohol abuse. Alcohol is toxic when consumed too often or in large quantities, and anyone experiencing alcohol dependence should seek treatment to prevent permanent damage to their body.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for help.  At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  We use an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor, you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.