In order to decide whether it is ok to drink alcohol if you have renal failure it’s necessary to consider what exactly renal failure means.
When renal failure occurs it means the kidneys are no longer functioning. The job of the kidneys is to filter the blood of toxins and dispose of the waste. With renal failure, that’s not happening.
Most people with renal failure have to receive dialysis treatments that perform the function of the kidneys. However, dialysis does not work as well as the kidneys do. The wastes are not filtered and disposed of consistently throughout the day as the kidneys would do.
Because wastes remain in the system of a person with renal failure longer than if the kidneys were functioning properly, the person is weaker, has a weaker immune system, and an inability to recover as quickly and completely as a person with healthy functioning kidneys.
According to an article titled, How Alcohol Works five percent of alcohol is eliminated by the kidneys. Although that may not seem like much, for a person that has renal failure, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can be dangerous.
Also, since many people with renal failure do hemodialysis, which is usually only done three times a week, the toxins alcohol puts in the body remain there for longer periods of time which can increase the harmful effects of alcohol.
Some people with renal failure do ok drinking a glass of wine, a beer, or having a mixed drink that includes no more than a shot of liquor in it. Other people are able to consume slightly more, and some cannot handle any amount of alcohol.
Whether or not is ok to drink alcohol if you have renal failure is up to your doctor. If your doctor tells you to avoid alcohol, then do so. If your doctor tells you it’s ok to have a drink or two, follow his or her guidelines.
Being able to drink alcohol if you have renal failure can also depend on how severe the renal failure is, your age, and whether or not you have other serious conditions.
Some medications renal patients take are not ok to mix with alcohol. Your doctor will let you know if alcohol could cause complications with the medication you take.
Overall, alcohol does have harmful effects on the body, especially when consumed in excess, and if you have renal failure the effects can be heightened. Many people with renal failure find that even if they were once avid drinkers, they now cannot stomach even small amounts of alcohol. So pay attention to your body’s signals as well.
Keep these things in mind if you are considering drinking alcohol and most importantly speak to your doctor to find out if it is ok to drink alcohol if you have renal failure.
Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D, “How Alcohol Works” howstuffworks