What Is a Diuretic: Types and Connection to Dehydration
You’ve probably heard of diuretics, but what exactly is it? Diuretics, often called water pills, are drugs or foods that cause your body to release water and salts by increasing urination. They are commonly used for heart conditions and weight loss pills.
However, diuretics can have side effects — one of which is particularly concerning is dehydration. Diuretics can be prescribed for high blood pressure or consumed from foods and drinks like caffeine to stay awake. Therefore, it’s important to know how they can impact your health.
Here, we’ll answer the question of “what is a diuretic” with examples of different types of diuretics. This article will also discuss how diuretics can heighten your risk of dehydration. Additionally, learn how you can stay hydrated with an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS.
What is a Diuretic?
To dig deeper into the question “what is a diuretic?”, a diuretic is a substance that increases urination, which is also known as diuresis. Diuretics include natural substances such as caffeine and alcohol as well as medications including water pills and blood pressure medications. Some antidepressants, heart medications, and water pills prescribed for weight loss are also diuretics.
As medications, diuretics are designed to increase the secretion of water and electrolytes such as sodium through urine. They are specifically used to adjust fluid levels. This can help treat medical conditions like kidney diseases and heart conditions, such as high cholesterol.
For example, a person with congestive heart failure may develop a build-up of fluids in their feet and ankles. This condition is known as edema, and diuretics can help reduce this excess fluid buildup in patients with congestive heart failure.
Common types of diuretics.
- Thiazide diuretics: Frequently prescribed to treat high blood pressure (hypertension), these diuretics, which include carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, help to relax blood vessels and decrease fluid retention. Common examples include metolazone (Zaroxolyn), indapamide (Natrilix), hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide), chlorothiazide (Diuril), and chlorthalidone (Thalitone).
- Loop diuretics: Designed as a therapy for heart failure, these diuretics include medications such as torsemide (Demadex), furosemide (Lasix), ethacrynic acid (Edecrin), and bumetanide (Bumex). These diuretics inhibit the reabsorption of sodium and chloride, preventing excess water retention.
- Potassium-sparing diuretics: One side effect of loop and thiazide diuretics is potassium deficiency. As these diuretics work throughout the body, potassium is excreted in urine. Potassium-sparing diuretics are designed to reduce fluid levels without affecting potassium levels. These include amiloride triamterene, spironolactone (an aldosterone antagonist also known as Aldactone), and eplerenone.
- Calcium-sparing diuretics: Like potassium, calcium is an electrolyte that is excreted in urine. These diuretics are used for people with heart conditions and take other medications that affect calcium levels. It is also used for heart condition patients with osteoporosis and other calcium deficiencies.
- Herbs and Botanicals: Some herbs and botanicals found in common foods and drinks act as natural diuretics. For example, a cup of coffee or a beer after work often leads to trips to the bathroom. Both caffeine and alcohol work as diuretics. They increase urine production and trigger the excretion of water and electrolytes.
The Connection Between Diuretics and Dehydration
Now that we have explored what a diuretic is, you may be wondering “what does it have to do with dehydration?” Diuretics have several side effects, one of the most concerning is dehydration. Dehydration is a condition where you lose more fluids and electrolytes than you take in. It can lead to headache and extreme thirst, and severe cases can cause coma and brain damage.
One of the leading causes of dehydration is fluid loss through increased urination. Since diuretics increase urine production, they heighten the risk of experiencing dehydration. This is especially concerning if you don’t consume enough fluids throughout the day.
Unfortunately, older individuals are more susceptible to dehydration. For one, elderly individuals often suffer from medical conditions that require diuretics. Additionally, our thirst response — one of our body’s main signals that we’re dehydrated — decreases as we age. That means elderly adults may not know they’re dehydrated until it’s too late.
To compound the problem, many older adults avoid drinking more fluids. A common reason is they don’t want to use the restroom more often. This is particularly common for individuals that take diuretics, which increases urine production.
How To Tell If You’re Dehydrated
Diuretics’ function can exacerbate and lead to dehydration. Dehydration can have serious impacts on your body, especially if you are taking diuretics and have existing health conditions. Here are some signs of dehydration to watch out for.
Warning signs of dehydration:
- Extreme thirst
- Dry skin
- Parched mouth or white tongue
- Rapid heartbeat
- Lightheadedness and fatigue
- Muscle cramps
Severe dehydration involves more severe signs including sunken eyes, fainting, and confusion. If you recognize these signs, seek medical advice from a qualified healthcare professional immediately.
By recognizing the signs of mild to moderate dehydration, start sipping an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS. It’s a proven alternative to IV therapy, helping you avoid painful, unwanted hospital stays. Plus, DripDrop ORS has three times as many electrolytes and half as much sugar as other sports drinks.
Tackle Dehydration Exacerbated by Diuretics With DripDrop ORS
All of us are at risk of dehydration, particularly if we consume diuretics like medications and alcohol. That doesn’t mean that you have to resign yourself to being chronically dehydrated. Reach for an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS. It can help you replenish fluids and electrolytes that you lose when taking diuretics.
When you're in a state of dehydration, your body needs the perfect balance of sodium and glucose to help absorption. DripDrop ORS balanced formula helps replenish vital electrolytes and fluids to relieve dehydration quicker than water alone. Plus, DripDrop ORS supplies vitamins like zinc, potassium, and magnesium, which are essential to support your overall health.
DripDrop ORS was developed by a doctor on a mission to defeat life-threatening dehydration. The patented formula improves on the World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) standards. In addition to providing medically relevant electrolyte levels, Drip Drop ORS provides a medically viable ORS that also tastes great and comes in a variety of flavors you can enjoy hot or cold.
For cases of mild dehydration many experience from taking diuretics, DripDrop ORS is a fast, and great-tasting remedy. The convenient packaging allows you to have DripDrop ORS when you need it, where you need it. Get started with our most popular multi-flavor pouch for dehydration relief fast. Or, learn more about how you can save up to 25% on every purchase when you subscribe.