Diuretics or water pills is a term that people come across whenever there is a talk about kidney diseases. They are also used to treat conditions like liver cirrhosis, water poisoning, influenza, hypertension or high blood pressure, heart failure, and many more such problems.
Read all about diuretics in our detailed article below!
What are diuretics?
Diuretics are products that promote diuresis, a process that increases the amount of urine in the kidneys. Diuretics do this by increasing the amount of salt and water in the body. They are later expelled out of the body as urine. Diuretics are also known to reduce the amount of fluid in blood vessels which prevents diseases like oedema and congestive heart failure.
There are distinct types of diuretics and each carries out the process of increasing the production and expulsion of urine in their way.
What are the types of diuretics?
There are three types of diuretics, namely loop, thiazide, and potassium-sparing diuretics. All three perform more or less the same task in different ways.
These diuretics are often compared with high ceiling diuretics, as they cause substantial diuresis in which the produced filtered load of salt of water is as high as 50 times that produced during renal sodium reabsorption.
Some examples of the loop or high ceiling diuretics are furosemide (Lasix) which leads to the excretion of water in urine by inhibiting the body from reabsorbing sodium in the nephron’s ascending loop, ethacrynic acid, torsemide, and bumetanide.
Thiazide diuretics treat high blood pressure by leading to the retention of water in the urine. This is done by thiazide’s inhibitory effect on sodium-chloride symporter. It causes frequent urination as a concomitant relationship is built between sodium loss and the convoluted tube. This relationship causes increased loss of water due to the decreased water retention capacity of the body.
Thiazides are the most widely prescribed diuretics because of the same reason. Additionally, they can help in the relaxation of blood vessels and when taken in combination with other medicines, helps to reduce hypertension. Some common examples of thiazides include hydrochlorothiazide, chlorthalidone, metolazone, and indapamide.
These diuretics act by retaining the expulsion of potassium ions with urine. This is a very important factor as other diuretics, with the loss of water from the body, lead to the body losing important nutrients a well. Deficiency of potassium can lead to diseases like arrhythmia. Potassium-sparing diuretics are mostly prescribed to those with existing low levels of potassium in the body.
These diuretics are prescribed in combination with other medicines that lower blood pressure since Potassium-sparing diuretics don’t have that effect. Some examples of Potassium-sparing diuretics include ameloride, triamterene, spironolactone, eplerenone, and aldosterone
Some other types of diuretics are:
Calcium-sparing diuretics: Retain expulsion of Calcium from the urine.
Osmotic diuretics: Increase osmolarity and blood flow to the kidney. For example, mannitol.
What are the side effects of diuretics?
1. Too much urination can lead to a deficiency of potassium in the blood
2. Diuretics like potassium-sparing diuretics might increase the amount of potassium in the blood by retaining it.
3. They can lead to a headache because of water loss.
5. Dehydration and thirst.
6. They might increase blood sugar levels in the body.
7. They can also elevate cholesterol levels
8. May lead to skin rashes
9. They result in diarrhoea
10. Might cause Gout.
- Some rare but adverse risks of diuretics are:
1. Metabolic alkalosis and acidosis
4. Hyper and Hypo Kalemia
5. Allergic reactions
6. Kidney Failures
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, confusion, anorexia, muscle cramps, constipation, extreme fatigue, or any other unusual symptoms while you are on diuretics then consult your doctor.
Are there any risks associated with diuretics?
Less than often, people suffer from conditions like very frequent dehydration, diabetes, pancreatitis, diabetes, lupus, menstrual problems, and some kidney problems.
If you are on medications like cyclosporine, fluoxetine, venlafaxine, lithium, digoxin, ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, and/or other medications for Blood pressure then, you should inform your doctor about the same beforehand so that he can prescribe you medication accordingly, and so that you are less prone to these side-effects and risks.
Natural Diuretic foods and drinks
1. Foods that include water, for example- onion, garlic, capsicum, asparagus, grapes, berries, and celery.
2.Caffeine including drinks like coffee, green tea, black tea, and soft drinks like sodas help to flush the fluid build-up from the system.
3. Hibiscus tea and dandelion tea are known to increase kidney filtration and frequency of urination. Hibiscus Tea is known to help in preventing the expulsion of potassium from the body.
4. Hawthorn berries and tea can help in easing urinary flow and increasing the frequency of urination. It also helps in reducing the fluid buildup inside blood vessels which lessens the chances of getting congestive heart failure.
5. Black cumin is a very famous diuretic in South-East Asia. Apart from being an amazing diuretic, it also lowers the blood pressure, blood sugar, and sodium and potassium levels inside the blood.
6. Horsetail is another very famous diuretic with minimum side effects. Hawthorn is a reliable alternative to allopathic medicine. Horsetail is available as a tea in markets and can be consumed if you are problematic with prescribed medicines.
7. The effect of Juniper as a diuretic is studied more on animals till now but it is known to increase the frequency of urination since medieval times. It also retains potassium levels unlike many other diuretics and can be used as a flavouring in meats.
8. Recent studies have found that Parsley helps increase urine volume and it has zero to minimum side effects which makes it useful to people facing side effects from prescribed medicine. Parsley is used as a dry herb in cuisines and has been used as a home remedy for ages.
Even though natural diuretics have almost no side effects on the body, it is advisable to consult a medical professional before taking them instead of prescribed medicine so that you don’t face any complications. It is important to know about the possible drug interactions or excess body fluid loss due to any diuretic.
We hope that you leave our site more informed and would return to us when your brain seeks more enlightenment!