Blood pressure is generally defined as the pressure placed on the walls of the arteries as blood passes through them. Diuretics, which are also sometimes called “water pills,” are a class of drug designed to help lower blood pressure. They are often prescribed in conjunction with other medications, a change in diet, and an exercise regimen. Get suggestions from bpmonitor advisor for blood pressure monitors.
The Function of Diuretics
While there are four main types of diuretics, says WebMD, they all have one main function: to eliminate water from the body. While salt attracts extra water into the blood stream, which has the effect of raising the blood pressure, diuretics do the opposite. They keep the kidneys from reabsorbing water and sodium (or salt) from urine before it passes out of the body. Because the water volume in a person’s system depends directly upon how much sodium is present, when the sodium leaves the system, so does the excess water, according to Dr. David Williams.
Some Words of Caution
While diuretics are a commonly prescribed, inexpensive and effective way to combat high blood pressure, they are not without side effects and other drawbacks. Diuretics may cause a loss of too much of certain key minerals from the system, including sodium, potassium and magnesium. Losing too much sodium can cause a lightheaded sensation or fainting, fits, temporary muscle weakness on one side of the body, or falls. The loss of too much potassium may cause irritability and fatigue, an irregular heartbeat, or in the worst case, heart failure.
Dr. David Williams recommends taking a potassium supplement while using the diuretic. Keeping magnesium levels within a normal range is important to prevent heart disease, heart attack and high blood pressure. Upping magnesium intake can even eliminate symptoms of mitral valve prolapsed and arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. Another complication that can arise from using diuretics is an increase in the body’s level of uric acid. An overage can trigger problems with gout. Diuretics can also negatively affect cholesterol levels and bladder control, inflame the gallbladder and pancreas, cause deafness or diabetes mellitus, and their use may be linked to kidney cancer. Users should ask the prescribing doctor what can be done to ensure proper levels of critical minerals.