Diuretics: FSA Eligibility
What are diuretics?
Diuretics, also commonly referred to as water pills, are medications that are designed to help the body rid itself of excess sodium and water by secreting this unnecessary material through the urine. These pills are used in the treatment of high blood pressure, glaucoma and edema, and they help to reduce the pressure on arterial walls by reducing the total amount of fluid and sodium in the blood. Absent this excess sodium and water, the heart will have an easier time pumping blood throughout the body and is an effective treatment for a variety of cardiac-related ailments (Healthline).
Diuretics fall into three primary classes that differ based on their mechanism of action within the body, typically how they interact with specific parts of the kidney. These medications have a series of potential side effects and should only be taken when prescribed by a doctor in a treatment plan for a specific illness or condition. These diuretics include via Mayo Clinic:
- Thiazide Diuretics: Examples of this medication include chlorothiazide, hydrochlorothiazide and metolazone and work by preventing the retention of sodium as well as water. These are most commonly used to treat high blood pressure by eliminating these substances that can contribute to additional pressure on the arterial walls.
- Loop Diuretics: These medications can include ethacrynic acid, furosemide, torsemide and bumetanide, and are most often used when patients are experiencing the symptoms of congestive heart failure. These medications are more effective in individuals with impaired kidney function, but do not significantly lower blood pressure.
- Potassium-sparing Diuretics: These drugs include medications like amiloride, eplerenone, spironolactone and triamterene, and unlike other diuretics, potassium-sparing variants will eliminate water and salt without causing the body to lose significant amounts of potassium. Potassium is helpful in maintaining the normal water balance between cells and bodily fluids, as well as aiding in nerve and muscle contraction.