Cocaine Addiction & Kidney Damage


Cocaine is one of powerful drugs that can cause severe damage to the heart and kidneys. With the rise of cocaine addiction in the country, kidney problem has become more apparent among drug users.

Cocaine causes renal failure due to rhabdomyolysis. In fact, rhabdomyolysis is the most common cause of death among cocaine users.

Understanding How the Kidneys Work:

The main function of the kidney is to filter the blood to form urine. Urine, made up from waste materials and extra fluids in the body is first stored in the kidneys before it goes to the bladder.

In a drug abuse, the kidneys and bladder work double time, where most of cocaine is expelled in the kidneys. Although kidneys work 100 percent, it is affected by other factors such as aging, hypertension, diabetes, kidney infections, toxic exposure and nephrolithiasis.

When kidneys are not functioning well, toxins affect the organ more. Kidneys find it hard to perform as more damages are brought by substances like cocaine.

Effects of Cocaine in the Kidneys:

Whether you are an acute or chronic user, the effect of cocaine in the kidney can be fatal. Cocaine addiction can cause kidney failure. Other effects of the drug abuse are renal infarction and atherosclerosis that hinder blood flow to the kidneys.

Since the kidneys are the one in-charged of filtrating the toxins in the body, the organ is the one most exposed to the waste and toxins. It is understandable that the effect of cocaine is felt so much by the kidneys.

With non-stop drug addiction, the organ can sustain severe damage that is sometimes life-threatening. All the functions of the kidneys can be disrupted, including its ability to produce hormones for other organs in the body.

The kidneys may sustain lesions due to cocaine addiction. Other disorders affecting the kidney are: kidney cancer and complete renal failure.

What is Rhabdomyolysis?

Nontraumatic rhabdomyolysis is the condition associated with heroin and cocaine addiction. It is the process wherein the skeletal muscle breaks down and release electrolytes and muscle enzymes. The effect of the condition is kidney failure and muscle breakdown.

What happens with kidney damage?

When kidneys are unable to function due to drug abuse, the body’s ability to excrete waste materials and normalize the hormone levels are severely affected. When kidneys are already damaged, patients depend on dialysis.

During dialysis, the function of the kidney will be taken over by the dialysis machine. The process itself is tiring, time-consuming, costly and prevents the person from assuming a normal life.

The hardest part of dialysis is that it cannot be done for a long time. Eventually the kidneys need to be replaced.  Kidneys need to be replaced through a donor that is costly and involves a lot of risks.

Treatment for Drug Abuse:

Anyone with illegal drug abuse should seek treatment to prevent further damage to the organs of the body such as kidneys.  Whatever damage done in the kidneys cannot be undone that’s why drug recovery program is very important.


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