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- What are Diuretics?
- What are the Benefits of Diuretics?
- Ailments for Which Diuretics May Be Effective
- What Kinds of Diuretics are Available?
- More Information on Diuretics
What are Diuretics?
The term diuretic refers to any substance that helps to rid the body of excess body fluids and salts through urination. These can take the form of prescription or over-the-counter drugs and certain foods with diuretic qualities that promote urine formation.
Whatever the source, diuretics help to prevent or treat a number of conditions including (edema), high blood pressure and glaucoma.
How do Diuretics Work?
Diuretics work by making your kidneys excrete more sodium in the urine. The body then tries to balance out this increased amount of sodium concentration, by adding more water to the urine from the blood stream during the process of urine formation.
By expelling the excess water in the urine there is now a decreased amount of fluid flowing through the blood vessels and pressure on the walls of the arteries is reduced.
What are the Benefits of Diuretics?
Diuretics are commonly used to treat hypertension and heart problems related to high blood pressure. In addition, certain diuretics can be used to prevent, treat or relieve symptoms of a variety of medical conditions.
Ailments for Which Diuretics May Be Effective
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
- Weight Loss
- Water Retention
- Congestive heart failure
- Diabetes Insipidus
- Kidney Disease
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Liver Disease
- Urinary Tract Infection
What Kinds of Diuretics are Available?
Diuretics can be found in a variety of food sources and prescription medications.
There are different types of over-the counter and prescription diuretics that work by affecting different parts of your kidneys and hence have different side-effects and precautions. When taking synthetic diuretics it is important to do so under medical supervision so that you take one specific to your condition and current health status. Examples include Hydrochlorothiazide, Furosemide (Lasix), and Spironolactone (Aldactone). We recommend that you thoroughly research any prescription medication and its side-effects before beginning drug therapy.
Food Sources of Diuretics
For those who only require minimal fluid reduction, and who don’t have major health conditions, certain foods are natural diuretics and may be a better alternative to drug-based diuretics. Examples of diuretics found in food are cranberries, celery, parsley, asparagus, artichoke, melon, watercress, apple cider vinegar, coffee and other caffeinated beverages. It also helps to reduce salt and carbohydrate intake and to drink plenty of water when on a diuretic diet.
More Information on Diuretics
Taking Caution With Diuretics
Because urine formation is boosted, increased urination is an expected side effect of using any diuretics, other side effects may include dizziness, impotence, dehydration and, depending on the type of diuretic, an imbalance in potassium levels or a drastic decrease in sodium levels. There are a number of types and sources of diuretics so it is important to be clued up on the various side effects and precautions, especially when taking synthetic diuretics. In addition, diuretics should not be taken during pregnancy.
Use of Diuretics for Children
Just like adults, the ailments for a child in need of a diuretic are commonly the same. Children who suffer from heart, kidney, or liver problems are given a diuretic to help rid their body of the excess salt and fluid through urination. Children with these conditions have been known to benefit greatly from diuretics. Alternatively, a child born prematurely when entering their prepubescent years may still be in need of a diuretic to help balance fluid levels in the body due to the underdevelopment of the organs.