Treating High Blood Pressure With Diuretics
Diuretics have an excellent track record for controlling high blood pressure as well as congestive heart failure. These agents lower blood pressure indirectly by increasing urinary output, which clears excess fluid from the body and lungs.
They also are excellent to help relax the arterial walls.
There are a few different types of diuretics including loop diuretics such as Lasix, and thiazide diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide, and potassium-sparing diuretics such as aldactone.
Possible side effects include:
Low blood potassium, dry mouth, excessive thirst, weakness, drowsiness, muscle cramps, abnormal heart rate, nausea, vomiting or abdominal discomfort.
Potential side effects of the potassium-sparing diuretics include:
Loss of appetite, headache, mental confusion, impotency, burning sensation in tongue, anemia, and cramping.
I reserve diuretic therapy and only use it in patients that have evidence of lower extremity edema or evidence of congestive heart failure.
We now know that diuretics can have major side effects such as increase in blood sugar, blood uric acid, and also increase in homocysteine; and, while these drugs do a good job of lowering blood pressure by increasing urine production, this action also promotes excretion of more than a normal amount of sodium, potassium and magnesium, which is not good for optimal blood chemistry.
Unfortunately, some patients even develop full-blown gout when they take a thiazide diuretic.
Along with the sodium, potassium and magnesium, another nutrients that may get depleted by the body as a result of diuretics include: Vitamin B1, B6, calcium, zinc, folic acid, and Q10.
Best in health,
Dean Silver, M.D.