Kidney injury, fluid, electrolyte and acid-base abnormalities in alcoholics

  • A Adewale
  • O Ifudu


In the 21st century, alcoholism and the consequences of ethyl alcohol abuse are major public health concerns in the United States, affecting approximately 14 million people. Pertinent to the global impact of alcoholism is the World Health Organisation estimate that 140 million people worldwide suffer from alcohol dependence. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are the third leading causes of preventable death in the United States. Alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse cost the United State an estimated US$220 billion in 2005, eclipsing the expense associated with cancer (US$196 billion) or obesity (US$133 billion). Orally ingested ethyl alcohol is absorbed rapidly without chemical change from the stomach and intestine, reaching maximum blood concentration in about an hour. Alcohol crosses capillary membranes by simple diffusion, affecting almost every organ system in the body by impacting a wide range of cellular functions. Alcohol causes metabolic derangements either directly, via its chemical by-product or secondarily through alcohol-induced disorders. Many of these alcohol-related metabolic disturbances are increased in severity by the malnutrition that is common in those with chronic alcoholism. This review focuses on the acute and chronic injurious consequences of alcohol ingestion on the kidney, as well as the fluid, electrolyte and acid-base abnormalities associated with acute and chronic ingestion of alcohol.

Keywords: Acid/base, alcoholics, alcoholism, electrolyte, kidney


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2229-774X
print ISSN: 0300-1652