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World Kidney Cancer Day 2024: Know about long-term effects of alcohol on development of kidney cancer

Through various efforts, World Kidney Cancer Day 2024 aims to reduce the global burden of this disease and provide support for individuals affected by kidney cancer. Thus, we need to know about the adverse effects of alcohol on the development of kidney cancer.

Written By: Kristina Das @ New Delhi Updated on: June 20, 2024 13:05 IST
World Kidney Cancer Day 2024
Image Source : FILE IMAGE Know about the long-term effects of alcohol on kidney cancer.

World Kidney Cancer Day 2024 is a global event that is observed annually on June 20 to raise awareness about kidney cancer and to support those who are battling this disease. So, to commemorate World Kidney Cancer Day 20224, we must know about the effects of alcohol on the development of kidney cancer or kidney disease. 

The kidneys are powerhouse organs responsible for filtering waste from your blood, maintaining fluid balance, and producing hormones. According to Dr. Puneet Ahluwalia, Director, Uro-Oncology & Robotic Surgery, Medanta, Gurugram, while a casual drink likely won't cause immediate harm, chronic alcohol consumption can take a toll on your kidneys and potentially influence cancer risk. India faces a growing burden of kidney disease, with an estimated 17 percent of adults having Chronic Kidney Disease [National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)]. This high prevalence highlights the importance of adopting healthy habits, including responsible alcohol consumption, to protect kidney health.

Impact on Kidney Function

  • Dehydration: Alcohol acts as a diuretic, increasing urination and leading to dehydration. Dehydration stresses the kidneys, making it harder to filter waste products effectively.
  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): Heavy, long-term drinking can damage the delicate filtering units within the kidneys. This damage can accumulate over time, increasing the risk of CKD, a condition where the kidneys gradually lose function.
  • High Blood Pressure: Alcohol consumption can contribute to high blood pressure, a major risk factor for kidney damage and CKD.

Alcohol and Kidney Cancer: A Complex Relationship

Although alcohol consumption can play a role in the development of a variety of cancers, research does not establish a direct link between alcohol and kidney cancer. Some older studies suggest that moderate alcohol consumption (around 1 drink per day) might be associated with a slightly lower risk of developing kidney cancer. However, these findings haven't been consistently replicated in newer research.

Although a direct link is not proven, there may be other variables at play:

  • Indirect Effects: While alcohol might not directly cause kidney cancer, heavy drinking can weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to various cancers, including those outside the kidneys.
  • Confounding Factors: Studies often struggle to account for all lifestyle factors that can influence both alcohol consumption and cancer risk (e.g., smoking, diet).

Despite the inconclusive link with kidney cancer, the potential for kidney damage from heavy alcohol consumption is undeniable. Moderation is key. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, moderate drinking translates to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men (a drink being 12 oz. beer, 5 oz. wine, or 1.5 oz. liquor).

Here are some tips to keep your kidneys functioning optimally:

Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity is a risk factor for kidney disease.

Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Limit processed foods: Processed foods often contain high amounts of sodium, which can strain the kidneys.
Manage blood pressure: High blood pressure is a major risk factor for CKD.
Moderate alcohol consumption: Discuss safe alcohol intake with your doctor.
Regular checkups: Get regular checkups to monitor your kidney function, especially if you have risk factors for CKD.

ALSO READ: World Kidney Cancer Day 2024: Lifestyle mistakes that may damage your kidneys


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