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Understanding the Effects of Diuretics on Blood Sugar Levels

What is a Diuretic?

A diuretic is a type of drug that increases the amount of water and salt that gets expelled in the urine. Commonly called water pills, they are often used to treat high blood pressure in people. As excess water and salt are removed from the body, the heart starts pumping less blood and eventually leads to more blood flow into the body’s tissues. Both of these effects can help lower blood pressure. Diuretics help regulate congestive heart failure, and high blood pressure levels.

How Does It Affect Blood Sugar Levels?

The aim of any diabetes control regimen is to keep blood sugar levels in the near-normal range. To achieve this there are certain steps to be followed like a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and taking insulin or medications if necessary. However, in some cases, diabetics sometimes need the help of other drugs, and these can interfere with effective blood glucose level control. Some of the medicines that are used to treat high blood pressure and heart-related issues have been found to interfere with diabetes and sugar levels.

Diuretics can also cause some metabolic alterations which can prove harmful. Basically, diuretics can affect glucose levels in the blood because they impair glucose metabolism. When the body cannot break down glucose as it should, the glucose level in the blood rises.

Types of Diuretics

There are mainly three types of diuretics, but 2 are the main ones influencing your sugar levels, namely, loop and thiazide.

  • Loop works to keep the kidneys from reabsorbing sodium back into the blood. This type helps release water and sodium via the kidney.
  • Thiazide diuretics on the other hand act on the distal tubule portion of the kidney. They are often prescribed to treat moderate high blood pressure symptoms. If you take both thiazide diuretics and beta-blockers which are used to treat heart conditions, it can further impair the glucose metabolism in your body.

Side Effects of Diuretics

While diuretics might not majorly cause a fluctuation in the sugar levels, it is still better to be alert on how it may affect you. Diuretics have certain side effects such as confusion, abnormal heart rates, and weakness.

Sometimes you also can experience some adverse symptoms like an upset stomach, dizziness, and increased sensitivity to the sun rays.

It is advised to talk to your physician about making changes to your medications if any of these persist.

Use a Glucometer

If you are taking diuretics, then you may have to conduct sugar tests often to determine whether you have normal sugar levels. You might also be advised to record changes in blood glucose levels to help determine how much your diuretic medication impacts the normal sugar level aspect. An easy way to do this is through a glucometer– a self-blood glucose monitoring device. Preferably with a smartphone glucometer, as it can help you share and sync readings on the go. You can buy a glucometer online or talk to your pharmacist to find the best glucometer available.

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