Q: What are ‘water pills’? How do they help?
A: Water pills are tablets that cause increased urination. They are also called diuretics. Certain disorders of the heart, lung, liver or kidney cause increased accumulation of fluid levels in the body, making it difficult for the heart to pump, for the kidney to filter and for the liver to metabolize. Failure to remove this excess fluid promptly further increases the water levels leading to high blood pressure, more load on the liver and the kidney and more unwanted effects (such as heart problems, diabetes, etc.) Water pills or diuretics act on the kidney and increase the levels of salt in the kidney. Salt attracts water, and both are excreted by way of excess urination, and this lowers blood volume, blood pressure, and the resulting unwanted effects. Hence, it is important to avoid a low salt diet, while on these medicines.
Q: Is there anything else I need to know before taking Chlorthalidone?
A: Chlorthalidone is good for your heart. Though there are many medicines that control your blood pressure, this medicine is beneficial for the heart. But, the risk of side effects is slightly higher with this medicine, and hence caution is advised. Have a planned diet and monitor your blood sugar levels, liver and kidney functions or for joint pains regularly, to derive more benefits. Do not stop this medicine suddenly as it may cause high blood pressure to return or other side effects such as nervousness or anxiety. Hence inform your doctor if you don’t feel like taking this medicine and he will decrease the dose gradually. Self-medication and self-adjusting the dose with this medicine should be avoided.