©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

Why Are Diuretics Used in Heart Failure?

Reviewed on 7/14/2020

What Is Heart Failure?

Heart failure is the inability of the heart muscle to move a sufficient volume of blood to fuel normal activities. Diuretics eliminate pressure on a failing heart by reducing fluid accumulation.
Heart failure is the inability of the heart muscle to move a sufficient volume of blood to fuel normal activities. Diuretics eliminate pressure on a failing heart by reducing fluid accumulation.

The definition of heart failure means the heart is not pumping as it should to circulate oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. 

What Are Symptoms of Heart Failure?

Symptoms of heart failure include:

Symptoms usually worsen at night when lying flat and patients find that they may only be able to sleep sitting up.

What Causes Heart Failure?

Heart failure is caused by a weakened or thickened heart muscle. 

Most people who develop heart failure have another heart condition, such as:

Risk factors for heart failure include:

How Is Heart Failure Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of heart failure starts with a physical exam which includes a doctor listening to the heart with a stethoscope. 

Tests to help diagnose heart failure include:

What Is the Treatment for Heart Failure?

Treatment for heart failure includes lifestyle and diet changes, medications, and sometimes implanted devices. In severe cases, a heart transplant may be needed.

Lifestyle changes for heart failure include: 

  • Quitting smoking
  • Losing weight
  • Limiting liquid intake to reduce fluid buildup
  • Limiting or avoiding alcohol
  • Limiting or avoiding caffeine
  • Eating a heart-healthy diet low in fat and sodium and high in fiber (plant-based diets may be helpful for heart patients)
  • Exercising regularly 
  • Practicing stress reduction techniques such as mediation or yoga
  • Controlling blood pressure
  • Getting adequate rest
  • Getting regular flu and pneumonia vaccinations

Medications used to treat heart failure and improve heart muscle function include:

Diuretics (water pills) help the kidneys get rid of excess water and salt in the body, which makes it easier for the heart to pump. Diuretics are frequently used to treat swelling and water buildup caused by heart failure. 

What Are Complications of Heart Failure?

Complications of heart failure include:

  • Heart valve problems
  • Arrhythmias
  • Kidney damage or failure
  • Liver damage

How Do You Prevent Heart Failure?

Heart failure can be prevented and even reversed in some cases by many of the same lifestyle changes used to treat the condition, including:

  • Taking medications as prescribed 
  • Quitting smoking
  • Losing weight
  • Avoiding or limiting alcohol
  • Avoiding or limiting caffeine
  • Eating a heart-healthy diet low in fat and sodium and high in fiber (plant-based diets may be helpful for heart patients)
  • Exercising regularly 
  • Stress reduction techniques such as meditation or yoga
  • Controlling blood pressure
  • Getting adequate rest

SLIDESHOW

Heart Disease: Symptoms, Signs, and Causes See Slideshow

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 7/14/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference

Heart.org
CONTINUE SCROLLING FOR RELATED SLIDESHOW