Alcohol and kidney disease

what does alcohol do to your liver and kidneys

Particularly, alcohol can have adverse effects on your mental health and state-of-well being. In fact, the National Alliance on Mental Illness states that approximately one-third of people struggling with alcohol abuse also suffer from mental illness (called co-occurring disorder). Even though alcohol is a depressant, it may give you a brief sense of euphoria or happiness because it releases dopamine (the “feel-good” chemical in your brain). The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends practicing moderation when it comes to drinking alcohol.

Alcoholic Hepatitis vs. Viral Hepatitis

The liver is located on the right side of the abdomen, just below the ribs. A large organ, it performs many functions essential for good health. Among other things, the liver produces and secretes bile, a fluid that helps digest fats; metabolizes carbohydrates, fats, and proteins; and produces substances that are essential for blood clotting.

  • Kidneys are essential to keeping the body healthy and free of harmful substances such as alcohol.
  • Continued liver damage due to alcohol consumption can lead to the formation of scar tissue, which begins to replace healthy liver tissue.
  • Another potential cause of hypophosphatemia in alcoholic patients is hyperventilation, which can occur during alcohol withdrawal.

Symptoms of alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD)

One way in which alcohol directly affects the kidneys is by altering the form and structure of this pair of organs, as demonstrated by various animal studies. For example, in an early study on dogs (Chaikoff et al. 1948), investigators observed several striking alterations after chronic alcohol administration. The basement membrane of the glomerulus (see sidebar figure) became abnormally thickened and was characterized by cell proliferation. Further changes included enlarged and altered cells in the kidney tubules. In another study, Van Thiel and colleagues (1977) compared kidney structure and function in alcohol-fed and control rats. While the liver can often repair itself after a period of alcohol use, the chronic, heavy consumption of alcohol can lead to permanent damage and the onset of cirrhosis, in which the liver is less able to filter blood.

  • At these stages, CKD moderately to severely impacts kidney function.
  • A kidney infection is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that starts in the urethra or bladder and moves to one or both kidneys.
  • Your liver is an essential organ to your body and produces hundreds of vital functions every day, including bile production, excretion of cholesterol and hormones and enzyme activation.
  • The NKF adds that most people in the United States who have both liver disease and kidney dysfunction are alcohol dependent.
  • The body mainly metabolizes alcohol using the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, which is expressed primarily in the liver.

Long-Term Alcohol Effects on the Liver

Some sources state that excessive drinking may cause acute kidney injury, and there may be a link between regular heavy drinking and chronic kidney disease. Even without binge drinking, regularly drinking too much too often can also damage the kidneys. Regular heavy drinking has been found to double the risk chronic kidney disease, which does not go away over time.

At these stages, CKD moderately to severely impacts kidney function. Regular and excessive alcohol use can also cause high blood pressure (hypertension) for a combination of reasons, such as disrupting hormones and affecting the how alcohol affects the kidneys muscles in blood vessels. According to a 2017 review, the question of whether alcohol consumption affects kidney function remains controversial. Alcohol is a toxic substance that can damage the body’s organs and tissues.

what does alcohol do to your liver and kidneys

This, in turn, increases the risk of liver failure and liver cancer. Several epidemiological studies have shown that mild alcohol consumption benefits cardiovascular health (Coate 1993; Kannel and Ellison 1996) by reducing the risk of coronary heart disease (Mukamal et al. 2006). In contrast, heavy drinking leads to the development of nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy (Klatsky 2007) and significantly increases the risk of sudden cardiac death (Hookana et al. 2011).

what does alcohol do to your liver and kidneys

That’s why many of us wonder if a month of avoiding drinking is enough to “reset” your liver back to normal. It’s true that taking a break from alcohol for any amount of time will be beneficial overall, with some research showing that liver function begins to improve in as little as two to three weeks. But a full detox is needed for the most benefit, and how much time that takes depends on a variety of personal factors. Of all your body’s organs, your liver takes the biggest hit when it comes to alcohol. Even if your relationship with drinking consists of occasional social drinking with friends or occasionally over-indulging in wine and cocktails during the holiday season, alcohol can still leave its mark. A kidney infection is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that starts in the urethra or bladder and moves to one or both kidneys.

Alcohol-Associated Liver Disease

what does alcohol do to your liver and kidneys

Hyponatremia probably is the single most common electrolyte disturbance encountered in the management of patients with cirrhosis of the liver (Vaamonde 1996). This abnormality may reflect the severity of liver disease, but the available data do not allow correlation of kidney impairment with the degree of clinical signs of liver disease, such as ascites or jaundice. The few studies focusing on alcohol’s direct effects on perfusion in human kidneys suggest that regulatory mechanisms retain control over this component of kidney function despite alcohol consumption. Even at high blood alcohol levels, only minor fluctuations were found in the rates of plasma flow and filtration through the kidneys (Rubini et al. 1955).

  • After you drink an alcoholic beverage, your body experiences an acute spike in blood pressure for up to two hours.
  • Although increased serum electrolyte concentration normally activates secretion of ADH so that fluid balance can be restored, a rising blood alcohol level disrupts this regulatory response by suppressing ADH secretion into the blood.
  • See a doctor or therapist if you feel you’re dependent on alcohol or if it’s interfering with your life in some way.

If you develop alcoholic hepatitis, you may be able to reverse the damage by permanently abstaining from alcohol. Treatment also involves dietary changes and medications to reduce inflammation. In mild alcoholic hepatitis, liver damage occurs slowly over the course of many years. Below, we’ll explore the early signs of alcohol-related liver disease, what alcohol actually does to your liver, and what steps you can take in your day-to-day life to improve your liver health. Consuming alcohol dehydrates your body, which can have negative effects on the function of your kidneys and other vital organs.