What Is The Role Of Diuretics, Or 'Water Pills,' And How Do They Work?

Question: What is the role of diuretics, or 'water pills,' and how do they work?

Answer: Fluid pills or diuretics are used by your doctor to treat your volume status. With congestive heart failure, patients increase their volume status because their bodies are stimulated to retain salt and water.

Diuretics or fluid pills work at the level of the kidney by helping the kidney to release that level of salt and fluid. Therefore it becomes important for you to work with your doctor to help in the measurement of your volume status so that if your volume status goes up, the physician can increase the dose of diuretics.

Conversely if your volume status is improving, which can happen in many instances if you reduce the amount of salt and fluid intake, then your doctor may elect to reduce the dose of your diuretics.