Edema and Related Medical Conditions

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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Diuretics and the Treatment of Edema

While real recovery from edema involves treating the underlying condition that is causing the edema, specific medicines are generally prescribed to help resolve the swelling as well.

These medications are referred to as diuretics.

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Diuretics, sometimes called water pills, treat a variety of conditions, such as high blood pressure, glaucoma and edema. Find out more about this class of medication.
Diuretics, sometimes called water pills, help rid your body of sodium and water. They work by making your kidneys excrete more sodium in urine. The sodium, in turn, takes water with it from your blood. That decreases the amount of fluid flowing through your blood vessels, which reduces pressure on the walls of your arteries.

Examples of diuretics:

There are three types of diuretics: thiazide, loop and potassium-sparing. Each works by affecting a different part of your kidneys, and each may have different uses, side effects and precautions. Which diuretic is best for you depends on your health and the condition being treated.

Examples of thiazide diuretics include:

Chlorothiazide (Diuril)
Indapamide (Lozol)
Metolazone (Zaroxolyn)
Examples of loop diuretics include:
Bumetanide (Bumex)
Ethacrynic acid (Edecrin)
Furosemide (Lasix)
Examples of potassium-sparing diuretics include:
Amiloride (Midamor)
Eplerenone (Inspra)
Spironolactone (Aldactone)
Different types of diuretics may also be combined into one pill.

Uses for diuretics

Doctors prescribe certain diuretics to prevent, treat or improve symptoms in a variety of conditions, such as:

High blood pressure
Congestive heart failure
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Certain kidney disorders, such as kidney stones
Diabetes insipidus
Female hirsutism

Side effects and cautions

In general, potential side effects of diuretics include increased urination, weakness, dizziness, impotence, dehydration and, depending on the type of diuretic, potassium decrease or increase, or sodium decrease.

Mayo Clinic - Diuretics

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See Also: Lymphedema People

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Medline Plus Drug Information Links

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