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What are thiazide diuretics, and how do they work?
Thiazide diuretics (water pills) are medications that are used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and reduce fluid accumulation in the body. They work by reducing the ability of the kidneys to reabsorb salt and water from the urine and into the body thereby increasing the production and output of urine (diuresis).
For what conditions are thiazide diuretics used?
Thiazide diuretics are used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure as well as the accumulation of fluid and swelling (edema) of the body caused by conditions such as heart failure, cirrhosis, chronic kidney failure, corticosteroid medications, and nephrotic syndrome.
What are the side effects of thiazide diuretics?
Side effects of thiazide diuretics are dose related and include:
- dizziness and lightheadedness,
- blurred vision,
- loss of appetite,
- stomach upset,
- headache, and
Other side effects and adverse reactions are:
- An increased sensitivity to sunlight (prolonged sun exposure should be avoided)
- Owing to their ability to increase the production of urine, these drugs may lower levels in the body of potassium and magnesium which also are present in urine.
- Thiazide diuretics may increase uric acid levels in blood.
- Like other antihypertensive medications, thiazides cause sexual dysfunction.
Are there any differences among the thiazide diuretics?
Thiazide diuretics are similar in effectiveness and usually are not effective in people with severe renal impairment.
With which drugs do thiazide diuretics interact?
Thiazide diuretics can lower potassium and magnesium blood levels since they are both eliminated in urine. Low levels of potassium and magnesium in the blood can result in abnormal heart rhythms, particularly in those who are also taking digoxin (Lanoxin) in addition to a thiazide. Thiazide diuretics can increase the risk of lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) toxicity by reducing the kidney's ability to eliminate lithium in the urine.
Drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin), naproxen (Naprosyn), and nabumetone (Relafen) can reduce the effectiveness of thiazide diuretics in lowering blood pressure because they may reduce the ability of the kidneys to make urine, particularly in patients who have reduced kidney function.
It is not recommended to use thiazide diuretics with dofetilide (Tikosyn), a drug used for treating abnormal heart rhythms, as this may increase the blood levels of dofetilide (Tikosyn) and cause abnormal heart rhythms. Thiazide diuretics can reduce how the body responds to norepinephrine and render norepinephrine less effective.
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Related Disease Conditions
Kidney (Renal) Failure
Kidney failure can occur from an acute event or a chronic condition or disease. Prerenal kidney failure is caused by blood loss, dehydration, or medication. Some of the renal causes of kidney failure include sepsis, medications, rhabdomyolysis, multiple myeloma, and acute glomerulonephritis. Post renal causes of kidney failure include bladder obstruction, prostate problems, tumors, or kidney stones.Treatment options included diet, medications, or dialysis.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms. Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure. The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater. If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
Cirrhosis of the liver refers to a disease in which normal liver cells are replaced by scar tissue caused by alcohol and viral hepatitis B and C. This disease leads to abnormalities in the liver's ability to handle toxins and blood flow, causing internal bleeding, kidney failure, mental confusion, coma, body fluid accumulation, and frequent infections. Symptoms include yellowing of the skin (jaundice), itching, and fatigue. The prognosis is good for some people with cirrhosis of the liver, and the survival can be up to 12 years; however the life expectancy is about 6 months to 2 years for people with severe cirrhosis with major complications.
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
Congestive heart failure (CHF) refers to a condition in which the heart loses the ability to function properly. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, myocarditis, and cardiomyopathies are just a few potential causes of congestive heart failure. Signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure may include fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, angina, and edema. Physical examination, patient history, blood tests, and imaging tests are used to diagnose congestive heart failure. Treatment of heart failure consists of lifestyle modification and taking medications to decrease fluid in the body and ease the strain on the heart. The prognosis of a patient with congestive heart failure depends on the stage of the heart failure and the overall condition of the individual.
Edema is the swelling of tissues as a result of excess water accumulation. Peripheral edema occurs in the feet and legs. There are two types of edema, non-pitting edema and pitting edema. Causes of pitting edema is caused by systemic diseases (most commonly involving the heart, liver, and kidneys), and medications. Local conditions that cause edema are thrombophlebitis and varicose veins. Edema or swelling of the legs, feet, ankles, and face are common during pregnancy. Idiopathic edema is edema in which the cause is not known. Pitting edema is scored on pitting edema measurement scales. Edema is generally treated with medication.
High Blood Pressure Treatment (Natural Home Remedies, Diet, Medications)
High blood pressure (hypertension) means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. Treatment for high blood pressure include lifestyle modifications (alcohol, smoking, coffee, salt, diet, exercise), drugs and medications such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers, diuretics, calcium channel blockers (CCBs), alpha blockers, clonidine, minoxidil, and Exforge.
Hypercalcemia (Elevated Calcium Levels)
Hypercalcemia is a condition in which calcium levels in the blood are elevated. Hypercalcemia is associated with other conditions such as hyperparathyroidism, lung cancer, breast cancer, kidney failure, and elevated levels of vitamin D. Symptoms of hypercalcemia include constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, and kidney stones. Treatment depends on the cause of hypercalcemia.
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