What to Know About Diuretics (Water Pills)

what to know about diuretics, What to Know About Diuretics (Water Pills), Dr. Nicolle

Many people are prescribed medication to treat high blood pressure.  One type of medication that is often prescribed is the diuretic, which is sometimes referred to as a “water pill”.  Diuretics are used to help rid the body of excess fluids and water weight. They work at the level of the kidney to increase the amount of urine that is excreted from the body each day.  Additionally, diuretics can help increase overall metabolism which helps burn fat more efficiently.

The way a diuretic works is by decreasing the reuptake of sodium in the kidney tubules.  This alteration in sodium concentration leads to less reabsorption of fluid and increased urination which rids the body of excess fluid.  This is a very effective method for decreasing blood pressure.  Some common diuretic prescription drugs are Spironolactone, Furosemide, and Hydrochlorothiazide.

what to know about diuretics, What to Know About Diuretics (Water Pills), Dr. Nicolle

When you take diuretics, you need to watch out for a few potential problems.  Due to the mechanism of action at the level of the kidney, diuretics can also cause you to lose large amounts of potassium.  Potassium is very important in the aid of the electrical signals coordinating the heart and its function. It also helps muscles to contract properly.  Low potassium can cause significant muscle weakness and can possibly cause heart rhythm abnormalities.  If you take diuretics, your physician will want to periodically check your electrolyte levels in your blood to make sure that your sodium and potassium levels remain normal.  Diuretics can also have a dehydrating effect and can lead to chronic kidney disease.  That’s why your doctor will also want to do periodic blood work to check your kidney function.


In conclusion, diuretics are very good medications and are very useful in the treatment of conditions like high blood pressure.  It is important that they are used in close consultation with a physician in order to monitor their use and effectiveness

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what to know about diuretics, What to Know About Diuretics (Water Pills), Dr. Nicolle


I’m excited to talk about this topic today because not only do I truly believe that you have the power to reverse heart disease and lower high blood pressure to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of these chronic diseases so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.


As you may already know, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve blood pressure and reverse heart disease. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy.


Tools to Improve Heart Health

Blood Pressure Monitoring

It’s very important to monitor your blood pressure. I often recommend an automatic upper arm blood pressure cuff, but a wrist blood pressure monitor is also acceptable.

7 Series Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor
what to know about diuretics, What to Know About Diuretics (Water Pills), Dr. Nicolle

7 Series Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitorwhat to know about diuretics, What to Know About Diuretics (Water Pills), Dr. Nicolle

Weight Monitoring

Since weight management is very important in blood pressure control, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor.

Body Composition Monitor And Scale With Seven Fitness Indicators
what to know about diuretics, What to Know About Diuretics (Water Pills), Dr. Nicolle

Body Composition Monitor And Scale With Seven Fitness Indicatorswhat to know about diuretics, What to Know About Diuretics (Water Pills), Dr. NicolleRemember, healthy lifestyle behaviors–like eating a whole-foods plant-based diet that is low in sodium, being physically active, and stress management are the best ways to prevent and control high blood pressure. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use.


Let me know what you think in the comment section below.


Stay healthy,


Dr. Nicolle


PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.

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