Chronic Alcoholism and Low Phosphate
One of the little recognized problems with alcoholism is the depleted phosphate condition of alcoholics. This occurs for several reasons. The empty calories of alcohol do not provide dietary phosphate, the vomiting and frequent use of antacids cause phosphate loss, and the damage alcohol causes to the kidney causes the body to excrete phosphate in the urine. It is important to note that a normal phosphate level in the blood does not rule out a total body depletion of phosphate.
This low phosphate state in alcoholics can be a problem for patients after surgery. Phosphate is one of the building blocks of ATP (P is phosphate) which is the fuel the body runs on. Low phosphate can cause difficulty with postoperative weakness, difficulty with coming off the respiratory, and irregular heart rhythms.
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