Kidney Function and Alcohol essay

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Filtration

The kidney plays an important role in the body in eliminating the waste products consumed or produced by other organs. One of its functions is filtration of the products that enters it. The filtration process in the kidneys takes place with the help of the differences in pressures in the glomerular and the Bowman’s capsule. The first filtration process takes place in the glomerular capsule where the high pressure of the glomerular forces tiny protein particles, dissolved waste products and plasma into the Bowman’s capsule while the bigger proteins, such as the amino acids and glucose particles, are forced back into the blood capillaries that have a lower pressure than the glomerular. The wall of the glomerular has small fenestrations that allow only tiny particles to go through it, hence preventing the blood cells and big protein particles from entering the Bowman’s capsule. The filtration process in the glomerular is glomerular filtration and the next filtration process takes place in the Bowman’s capsule, which has a lower pressure than the glomerular. This forces the materials in the glomerular into the Bowman’s capsule, and the filtrate in here is the renal filtrate. It is similar to plasma but has no blood cells. The consumption of alcohol alters the ability of the kidneys to filter its products because it increases the blood pressure in the capillaries. This damages the blood capillaries in the kidneys, affecting their ability to filter the blood components going through it. With time, the difference between the pressures in the kidney capillaries and the other blood capillaries will not exist, making it difficult to filter the waste products. This forces the kidneys to work extra hard to filter the excess glucose, which causes kidney failure.

Absorption

The renal filtrate formed in the filtration process is about 150 liters a day and the amount eliminated through urination is only 2 liters. Most of the renal filtrate is absorbed back into the body because of its components like the water, amino acids, and mineral ions. This process takes place in the renal tubule where the substances move through the cell linings into the interstitial fluid. The whole process tries to retain the useful substances needed by the body and let harmful waste products pass into the urine. The absorption of these minerals is highly dependent on the concentration of blood, and alcohol alters the blood concentration. Alcohol inhibits the release of an antidiuretic hormone (AHD), major function of which is to stimulate absorption of water into the blood stream. This causes the kidneys to become less permeable to water and, as a result, one releases more water in the urine. This affects the concentration of ions in the blood, making it difficult for the renal tube to facilitate the process of re-absorption because the concentration in the blood capillaries is equal to that in the renal tube; therefore, the process of osmosis becomes impossible. However, this process may be different depending on the alcohol consumed. Beer, for example, has high water content and this lowers the concentration of ions in the blood complicating the reabsorption of substances in the renal tube.

Secretion

This is the process where substances in the interstitial fluid are moved into the renal filtrate for elimination. Alcohol inhibits the passage of the waste products, such as urea and other wastes, for elimination by increasing the concentration of ions in the blood and inhibiting the release of ADH, which should regulate the water content in the urine. This makes a person visit lavatory more times and, consequently, lose more water in form of urine while retaining the harmful wastes like ammonia and urea. As a result, a person’s body is not able to pass waste products directly into the renal filtrate due to the inconsistency of the ion concentration in the blood.

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