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Kidney Diseases

Alcohol and Kidneys

06/07/2006

Question:

How does alcohol affect the kidneys if you have a kidney problems?

Answer:

Alcohol in moderation does not directly affect the kidneys in a negative way in most people. We have all noticed that it has a diuretic effect because we urinate more after an alcoholic beverage. In a patient with a history of renal stones any dehydration is unwise so that this diuresis is unwelcome. Alcohol in excess may cause increased blood pressure and hypertension can adversely affect kidney function.

Some medications that are used to treat kidney problems do not mix well with alcohol. Alcohol that is homemade may contain lead and lead can hurt the kidneys if enough is consumed. Please note that the determination of "excess" alcohol or a "moderate" amount of alcohol is an amount agreed upon between you and your doctor.

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Response by:

Thomas   Zipp, MD Thomas Zipp, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University