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How alcohol affects your kidneys

With World Kidney Day taking place on 10 March, Port of Call takes a closer look at the effects of alcohol on these vital and hard-working organs. If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, talk to Port of Call today about your options including detox and alcohol rehab

World Kidney Day is a global awareness drive that takes place on 10 March each year. Its aim is to highlight the importance of our kidneys to our overall health, as well as reducing the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

World Kidney Day

Our kidneys are complicated and amazing organs that perform many crucial tasks. Their main job is to remove toxins, such as alcohol, and excess water from the bloodstream. These remarkable organs, roughly the size of your fist, also help to control your blood pressure, produce red blood cells and keep your bones healthy.

Alcohol’s effects on the kidneys

Drinking alcohol can affect many parts of your body, including your kidneys. A little alcohol, say one or two occasional drinks, usually has no significant effects. But drinking too much can have a negative impact on your health.

The kidneys filter toxic substances from the blood. One such toxin, alcohol, can alter the function of the kidneys and make them less effective at filtering blood. Another kidney function is to balance the amount of water in the body. Alcohol can also harm the kidneys’ ability to do this because the dehydrating effect of alcohol affects the normal function of cells and organs – including the kidneys.

The effects of alcohol on blood pressure and the liver

Blood pressure can also be altered by alcohol’s effects. Frequent binge drinkers are at greater risk of having high blood pressure, which is a common cause of kidney disease. More than two drinks a day can increase your chance of raising blood pressure.

Chronic drinking can also trigger liver disease, which makes the kidneys’ job that much harder. The rate of blood flow to your kidneys is ordinarily regulated, but liver disease impairs this natural balance. Heavy drinking on a regular basis has been found to increase the risk of liver disease.

Binge drinking can also raise blood alcohol levels to dangerous levels. In extreme cases, this can cause a sudden drop in kidney function – known as “acute kidney injury”. When this happens, dialysis is needed until kidney function returns to normal. Acute kidney injury normally goes away with time, but can occasionally lead to lasting kidney damage.

Make us your Port of Call

If you’re worried about your drinking levels, and your health as a result, speak to Port of Call today for free and confidential advice. We can help you, or your loved one, to access the right alcohol support at the right time. We are here to offer advice or answer any questions you may have about treatment, rehab or even the cost of rehab. Take the first step towards recovery by speaking to one of our advisers today. Please call our free phone line on 08000029010 or text ‘PORT’ to 82228 and we will call you back.

About the author: Martin Preston

Martin is our Founder and Chief Executive. Martin is himself in long term recovery and started Port of Call to help families navigate treatment options. In 2020 Martin will open Delamere Health Ltd, the UK’s first purpose built addiction treatment clinic.

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