Whether you are out with friends or just relaxing at home, alcohol can be a normal facet of social situations and personal relaxation. So, you may be wondering if I am on dialysis, can a dialysis patient drink alcohol? The answer is yes, but moderation and keeping up with your fluid allowances for the day are crucial for proper kidney function and healthy kidneys.
Speaking with your dietician about the inclusion of occasional alcohol intake into your current diet and fluid schedule will be important as a renal patient. Alcohol can dehydrate your system and further damage your kidneys if it is consumed in excess. Your kidneys cannot regulate the excess alcohol as well as others without CKD, so it is important to drink responsibly and in moderation to avoid kidney disfunction and kidney failure.
Is Alcohol Bad For Kidneys?
Many things can be damaging to your body if ingested in excess, and alcohol is no different. Further kidney damage, liver damage, fluctuations in blood sugar levels, inhibition of medications, and many other issues and harmful effects can arise from the continued and excessive consumption of alcohol. However, when drinking in moderation and keeping up with your diet and how your body feels, these effects are not prominent issues for most casual drinkers.
How Does Alcohol Affect the Kidneys?
Alcohol affects the kidneys by further impairing their ability to filter out toxins and waste properly. Those with chronic kidney disease already have damage to their kidneys which causes these problems, and excessive alcohol consumption worsens these issues. So, while dialysis patients can drink alcohol, it is important to know how it may affect your body if you drink in excess and to avoid that.
Liver damage, such as cirrhosis, has long been the most notable side effect of alcoholism, but the damage that occurs to the liver can also worsen the damage of our kidneys as well. The liver and kidneys work together to regulate the flow and filtration of the blood, and when the liver is damaged, the kidneys can get overrun by the extra workload of filtering out the toxins and waste.
Alcohol can also raise blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and disrupt medications such as those for hypertension. Alcohol can also be very dehydrating, which also increases toxins and wastes in the body. While you may have increased urination, you are getting rid of important water content your body needs and making your kidneys work harder to purge your body of those additional toxins.
Can Dialysis Patients & CKD Patients Drink Alcohol?
Can Dialysis Patients Drink Beer?
Dialysis patients are able to drink beer, but it must be included in their daily fluid allowance. It is important to talk to your dietician and healthcare providers to really figure out a personalized fluid intake schedule for your stage of kidney disease and to talk about the effects of alcohol if you are a casual beer drinker.
Can Dialysis Patients Drink Wine?
Dialysis patients can drink wine, and drinking in moderation rarely causes problems for those with CKD. However, it is important to not exceed the limit of ounces of wine set by your dietician and your physician.
How Much Alcohol Can Dialysis Patients Drink?
Drinking alcohol should be included in your daily fluid allowance if you are on dialysis and you should discuss a personalized fluid allowance plan and the effects of alcohol with your physician and dietician.
Your physician and healthcare team will be able to give you a safe limit of alcohol consumption on a renal diet. However, according to the National Kidney Foundation, women should not exceed one alcoholic drink per day, with men not exceeding two alcoholic drinks per day, as a safe estimate.
The Best Types of Alcohol To Drink On Dialysis
Gin and Tonic
An allowance of about 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, is the alcohol limit for many dialysis patients. The best drinks tend to be clear liquors and a pairing such as tonic water or club soda. These types of drinks will help to prevent dehydration and contain, on average, only 12 milligrams of potassium and 2 milligrams of phosphorus.
Wine is a popular drink of choice for those going out to dinner or at social celebrations. While you have the choice of red or white, and the potassium and phosphorus levels will vary by the type of wine, white wine is generally the better option. While red wine may contain many antioxidants, white wine usually has fewer phosphates and lower levels of potassium. Wine intake should be limited to 5 ounces a day for most choices.
Much like the vodka tonic or gin and tonic options, a martini has some of the lowest levels of potassium and phosphorus among mixed drinks. This option will help less with dehydration as it only includes the spirits themselves and no added water.
Alcoholic Drinks To Avoid on Dialysis
Many of the drinks which should be avoided on this list are due to the fact that the ingredients usually contain high levels of potassium and phosphorus. Pina Coladas generally include fruit and mixer ingredients that are high in potassium and sugars.
Much like the Pina Colada above, the Tequila Sunrise includes syrups and processed citrus-like orange juice, which add a lot of potassium to one small drink.
While Bloody Mary’s may seem like they would be relatively safe as an alcohol option for dialysis patients, use of most tomato juices and mixers has a lot of added potassium, and many of them also contain a large amount of sodium.
Yes, dialysis patients can drink alcohol, but it is particularly important they monitor their intake, even more so than the average person.
While dialysis patients can enjoy an occasional alcoholic beverage, it is important to keep up with your fluid intake and discuss your consumption of alcohol with your physician to promote kidney health. Alcohol can have many negative effects on your kidneys if you drink in excess so it is important to only drink in moderation and to choose drinks that still allow you to maintain reasonable potassium, sodium, and phosphorus levels.