Published on March 8, 2024 at 8:00 / Updated on March 26, 2024 at 8:00

A diuretic is any substance that promotes the elimination of water and salt from the body. It increases urine output by the kidneys, which are responsible for maintaining a healthy balance of water and salt in the body. The strength of a diuretic depends on which part of the kidneys it targets.

When diuretics are used

Diuretics are usually used to treat high blood pressure and heart problems. They may also be indicated for liver and kidney problems.

Too much water in your blood has the following effects:

  • Your blood pressure increases
  • Your heart has to work harder
  • Swelling may occur in the legs and sometimes even the lungs, causing shortness of breath

By promoting the elimination of excess water in the blood, diuretics lower your blood pressure and help your heart pump more easily.

Are diuretic teas effective and safe?

Although some natural health products have diuretic properties, there is no compelling scientific evidence to support their effectiveness in treating swelling, let alone heart problems.

Furthermore, the majority are marketed as weight loss products. They cause short-term weight loss by eliminating water from the body rather than fat. Although most of these diuretics are described as "natural," using them is not without risk. They can cause severe dehydration, kidney damage, and heart complications.

What precautions should I take when using diuretics?

Since all diuretics promote the elimination of water, they all increase urination. It's best to take them as early in the day as possible to avoid having to go to the bathroom at night.

If you're not taking diuretics to treat hypertension, keep in mind that they can still lower your blood pressure. To avoid dizziness, sit and stand more slowly than usual, especially during the first week of treatment.

Most diuretics lower potassium levels in the blood. If your potassium levels are too low, you could experience leg cramps, dry mouth, and even heart palpitations. Speak with your health care provider if you experience any of these symptoms and before taking a potassium supplement.

Several drugs interact with diuretics. Always speak with your pharmacist before taking a diuretic supplement.

On hot days, the use of diuretics can put you at risk of dehydration, and you may need to adjust your dosage. Consult your health care provider before changing your treatment.

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