All about Diuretics

Diuretics are popularly also known as water pills by experts because its major task is to remove the excess water content in the body. Sometimes, increased water content can result in high blood pressure. Diuretics help in the lowing the blood pressure of the body. The fluid in the blood vessels is significantly reduced which ultimately makes the necessary changes.

Though these medications may majorly reduce the blood pressure, it is used for other medical conditions as well. In case of congestive heart failure, there is a hindrance to the effective pumping of blood to the entire body. This may result in edema, i.e. fluid build-up in the body. This medication helps in the process of reducing these fluid build-ups. Some other conditions where this medication is prescribed to people are inflammation of ankles, feet, legs resulting from heart failure; build-up of fluid in the stomach or abdomen as a result of certain types of cancers or liver damage; or even eye conditions like glaucoma. Diuretics are effective for other conditions like; kidney stones, baldness among women, osteoporosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and diabetes insipidus.

Kinds of Diuretics

Diuretics
Kinds of Diuretics

There are mainly three kinds of Diuretics namely; potassium-sparing, loop, and thiazide diuretics.

  1. Potassium-sparing Diuretics: This type of diuretics help in reducing the level of fluids without compromising on the level of potassium in the body which is a very useful nutrient. Other diuretics may result in lowering the level of potassium, but this type focuses on keeping the potassium level intact. People who have lower level of potassium in the body are prescribed this type of diuretics. Some example of Potassium-sparing diuretics are; eplerenone, triamterene, spironolactone, amiloride etc.
  2. Loop Diuretics: This kind of diuretics is used for treating cases of heart failure. Some of the common examples include; ethacrynic acid, bumetanide, furosemide, and torsemide.
  3. Thiazide Diuretics: This type is the most common one that doctors prescribe to patients. They are used for the treatment of high blood pressure. It helps in reducing the excess fluid in the body as well as helps in the relaxation of the blood vessels. At times, the doctor may prescribe this medication along with other medications to lower the level of blood pressure. Some popular examples are; indapamide, metolazone, hydrochlorothiazide, chlorthalidone, chlorothiazide etc.

Side Effects of Diuretics

Diuretics usually do not bring along major changes in the body. But, there are some evidences of certain side effects. They are mentioned below:

Common side effects:

  • Skin rash
  • Increased level of cholesterol in the body
  • Muscle cramps
  • Increased level of blood sugar
  • Dizziness
  • Thirst
  • Low level of sodium
  • Headache
  • Increased amount of potassium (for people using potassium-sparing diuretics)
  • Lesser amounts of potassium

Major Side Effects:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Kidney failure
  • Allergic reaction

In case the side effects are unbearable and causing too much distress, you must consult a doctor. Sometimes a different prescription or a combination of drugs is given to cancel out the side effects. You must not discontinue your medication without having a prior consultation with your health expert.