When are Diuretics used?

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What are Diuretics or water pills?

A diuretic is defined as a chemical that increases the rate of urine formation. Diuretics are also known as water pills. By increasing the urine flow rate, diuretic usage leads to the increased excretion of electrolytes and water from the body. Diuretics work by taking out more sodium from the body. the sodium absorbs more water and is flushed out of the kidneys. When more sodium is taken out through the kidneys it helps in lowering the pressure of the blood on the arteries as it takes away more fluids. The primary action of most diuretics is the direct inhibition of sodium transport from the nephron. Diuretics are used to treat heart failure, liver cirrhosis, hypertension and certain kidney diseases.

 

What are the different types of Diuretics?      

  • On the basis of potency 
  1. Very potent diuretics such as,  Furosemide, Bumetanide etc.
  2. Moderately potent diuretics are,   Chlorthiazide, Benzothiazide etc.
  3. Weak diuretics
  4.   Osmotic diuretics . Mannitol, glucose, sucrose.
  5.   Potassium sparing diuretics. Spironolactone, ameloride.
  6.   CA inhibitors(Carbonic Anhydrase inhibitors), Acetazolamide, Dichlorphenamide, Methazolamide.

 

  • On the basis of the anatomical site of action in the kidneys,
  1.  Diuretics acting at the convoluted and straight portions of  the proximal tubule. They are the CA inhibitors (e.g. Acetazolamide, Methazolamide etc.)
  2.  Diuretics acting at the thick ascending limb of Henle’s loop. They are- Loop diuretics or High ceiling diuretics (e.g. Furosemide, Bumetanide etc.)
  3.  Diuretics acting at the distal convoluted tubule of the nephron. They are- Thiazide or Thiazide like diuretics (e.g. Chlorthiazide, Benzothiazide etc.)
  4.  Diuretics acting at the connecting tubule (the terminal portion of the distal convoluted tubule) and the cortical collecting tubule. They are- Potassium sparing diuretics (e.g. Ameloride, Spironolactone etc.)

 

Are they any side effects when using Diuretics?

The most commons side effects of using diuretics is, increase in frequency of urination. Some could experience, dizziness,headaches, muscle cramps, low sodium level in the blood which is also known Hyponatremia, increased cholesterol.

 

Is it safe to take   natural diuretics ?

There are foods with natural diuretic properties which may be a better alternative than drug-based diuretics. Some foods that contain natural diuretics are cranberries and cranberry juice, coffee and other beverages that contain caffeine, and apple cider vinegar. But always check with a doctor before taking natural diuretics, especially if you are trying to treat symptoms such as water retention or edema, Water retention could be the cause an underlying disease. So just treating the symptoms with natural diuretics will only alleviate the problem in the shorter term but cause more damage overall if its not treated on time.