What are Diuretics

Diuretics are medications that help your body to get rid of
excess water and sodium (salt) through urination. You may know these
medications as a “water pill.”

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Types of Diuretics

Loop Diuretics are used for symptomatic treatment in heart
failure such as swelling in the feet, legs, and ankles and shortness of breath.
Some common loop diuretics are as follows:




Ethacrynic Acid

Potassium-Sparing Diuretics help to remove excess water
while allowing your body to maintain its potassium. Some common potassium
sparing diuretics are as follows:





Thiazide Diuretics are used to treat blood pressure;
however, they are commonly prescribed for their effects of reducing the amount
of water in the body by way of the kidney’s. Some common thiazide diuretics are
as follows:






Why are diuretics
prescribed for patients with heart failure?

Heart failure can cause excess fluid in the body causing
symptoms such as, difficulty breathing, and swelling in the feet, legs, and
ankles. Your doctor will prescribe the diuretic that is best for you. Taking
these medications as prescribed can help to reduce these symptoms by allowing
the body to excrete the excess fluid causing these symptoms out through the
kidney’s. Often these medications are used with another type of medication that
helps to lower one’s blood pressure called and ACE (angiotensin-converting

Things to Remember
While Taking Diuretics

Typically, you doctor will start you out on a low dose and
then increase this medication as needed to reduce any excess fluid buildup.
Doing this will also help to avoid any side effects. While taking this medication
it is important to follow a low sodium diet as sodium can reverse the effects
of diuretics.  This medication may also
be better to take during the morning time as it can cause increased urination. Also,
while taking this medication you should check your weight daily. This will help
to monitor fluid loss/gain. You should contact you doctor immediately should
you have a weight gain of 2 pounds within a 24-hour period or 5 pounds within a

Side-Effects of

Some common side-effects of diuretics are low levels of
potassium, high levels of potassium (with potassium sparing diuretics), low
sodium levels, increased thirst, dizziness, increased blood sugar, headache,
muscle cramps, and diarrhea. In rare cases, some people may experience allergic
reaction, kidney failure, and an irregular heartbeat. Should you experience any
side-effects you should talk with your doctor. You should not stop taking this
medication without first talking to you doctor.