Medicine: Diuretic Dilemma Are water pills risky?

Dilemma Are water pills risky?

When a patient has high blood pressure, the first drug most doctors prescribe is a diuretic. By accelerating the loss of water and sodium from the body, these medications help lower blood pressure and thus decrease the risk of stroke, congestive heart failure and kidney failure. But a Swedish study released last week provides new evidence that so-called water pills may increase the danger of diabetes and heart attacks.

Reporting in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that when hypertensive patients were given the popular diuretic hydrochlorothiazide, their ability to metabolize the sugar glucose dropped 11% and their blood...

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