What is Diuresis?
In healthy people, the drinking of extra water produces mild diuresis to maintain the body water balance. Many people with health problems such as heart failure and kidney failure need diuretic medications to help their kidneys deal with the fluid overload of edema. These drugs help the body rid itself of extra water via the extra urine. The concentrations of electrolytes in the blood are closely linked to fluid balance, so any action or problem involving fluid intake or output (such as polydipsia, polyuria, diarrhea, heat exhaustion, starting or changing doses of diuretics, and others) can require management of electrolytes, whether through self-care in mild cases or with help from health professionals in moderate or severe cases.
Sometimes a connotative difference is felt between diuresis in the sense of appropriate increase (as in successful diuretic therapy that is controlling symptoms well) and polyuria in the sense of inappropriate increase, that is, excess (as in failed oral antihyperglycemic therapy that must be stepped up to achieve control). However, sometimes the words are simply synonymous.
Diuretics (Water Pills) for High Blood Pressure
Commonly known as “water pills,” these drugs help your kidneys get rid of extra water and salt from your body through your pee. Because you have less total fluid in your blood vessels, like a garden hose that's not turned on all the way, the pressure inside will be lower. This also makes it easier for your heart to pump.
They're usually the first type of medication that your doctor will try to control your blood pressure.
You'll often start with a thiazide diuretic:
- Chlorthalidone (Hygroton)
- Chlorothiazide (Diuril)
- Hydrochlorothiazide or HCTZ (Esidrix, Hydrodiuril, Microzide)
- Indapamide (Lozol)
- Metolazone (Mykrox, Zaroxolyn)
Others your doctor may prescribe are:
- Amiloride (Midamor)
- Bumetanide (Bumex)
- Furosemide (Lasix)
- Spironolactone (Aldactone)
- Triamterene (Dyrenium)
Different diuretics can be taken together, and you can take them with other medications, sometimes in the same pill.
While You're Taking Diuretics
Let your doctor know what medications (prescription and over-the-counter), supplements, and herbal remedies you use. Also, tell her about other medical problems you have.
She may want to regularly check your blood pressure as well as test your blood and pee for levels of specific minerals and to see how well your kidneys are working. She'll probably tell you to follow a low-sodium diet and limit how much salt you eat.
Because some diuretics also pull potassium out of your body, you might need to eat more foods like bananas, sweet potatoes, spinach, and lentils, or take a potassium supplement. On the other hand, if you're taking a “potassium-sparing” diuretic, such as amiloride (Midamar), spironolactone (Aldactone), or triamterene (Dyrenium), she may want you to avoid potassium-rich foods, salt substitutes, low-sodium milk, and other sources of potassium.
If you only need one dose a day, you might want to take your diuretic in the morning so you can sleep through the night instead of getting up to go to the bathroom.
Avoid alcohol and medicines to help you sleep. They may make side effects worse.
The water that comes out of your body has to go somewhere, so you can expect to be peeing more and more often for several hours after a dose.