Kidney Health While Taking Lasix

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Table of Contents

I. How do the Kidneys Work?

II. Diuretics and the Kidneys

III. So, What Should I Look Out For?

IV. Symptoms of Kidney Problems

Maintaining the health of your kidneys is essential to the health of the whole body. The kidneys are part of the urinary system and help filter waste out of the bloodstream. The kidneys can be affected by several things, including certain prescriptions and various medical conditions.

Taking diuretics like Lasix (furosemide) can significantly improve cardiovascular conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure. Diuretics also improve edema, which is excess fluid accumulation in the body’s tissues. When taking certain medications like Lasix, it is important to make sure that they benefit the body and not hurt it. Learn more about the relationship between Lasix and the kidneys below.

How do the Kidneys Work?

Kidneys are bean-shaped organs located in the back below the rib cage. These organs filter about half a cup of blood every minute, removing waste and creating urine. Urine goes from the kidneys to the bladder and out through the ureters, which are two thin tubes of muscles. Not only are they responsible for several urinary processes, but they also help control blood pressure, make red blood cells, and keep your bones strong. 

Kidneys are made up of nearly a million nephrons that filter blood. These nephrons remove excess acid and waste from the blood and flow out of the kidneys through the renal vein. Blood circulates through the kidneys over 100 times a day, so several dangerous conditions may occur if the kidneys are malfunctioning.

a diagram of the kidney’s internal processes

You may experience symptoms of kidney disease if the kidneys stop working due to:

  • Direct damage to the kidneys
  • Urine backed up in the kidneys
  • Not enough blood flow to the kidneys

These issues may occur because of dehydration, traumatic injury, an enlarged prostate, or if you take certain medications. The kidneys are typically very adaptable, but if they are not working properly for three months or longer, you may have chronic kidney disease. This may require treatments like dialysis. When using dialysis, you will be hooked up to a machine that removes the waste and extra fluids that your kidneys cannot.

Diuretics and the Kidneys

Diuretics are generally safe to take under the supervision of your doctor. Diuretics like Lasix help rid the body of extra salt and water, which allows the kidneys to release more sodium into the urine. Getting rid of sodium lessens swelling in the body, reducing the workload of the heart. Most commonly, diuretics are used to improve symptoms of:

  • Heart failure
  • Liver failure
  • Edema (tissue swelling)
  • Kidney disorders

Lasix is a loop diuretic that is typically prescribed for congestive heart failure and liver disease. There are several different diuretics types, and your doctor will take your prior conditions into account when prescribing your treatment.

So, What Should I Look Out For? 

If you are taking long-term diuretics, you should be cognizant of possible side effects. Although Lasix (furosemide) reduces the symptoms of high blood pressure and edema, it may lead to dehydration. Your body may lose too much water, causing swelling and inflammation of the kidneys. 

Nephrotoxicity, also known as renal toxicity, is one of the most common problems affecting the kidneys. This occurs when a drug or toxin damages the kidneys, making them unable to rid the body of excess urine and waste. Nephrotoxicity is a risk factor when taking diuretics over long periods. A multi-center study in Shanghai found 22% of drug-induced acute kidney injury is caused by diuretic use. Acute kidney injury can cause a build-up of waste products in the blood, making it hard to keep a healthy balance of fluid in the body.

an empty hospital bed

Symptoms of Kidney Problems

In general, diuretics are one of the safer and more efficient methods for treating cardiovascular disorders. Regardless, it is important to remain informed of any possible side effects of your medications. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of the following while taking diuretics:

  • Muscle twitches and cramps
  • Trouble thinking
  • Swelling in the feet and ankles
  • High blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chest pain (fluid build-up near the heart)
  • Shortness of breath (fluid build-up in the lungs)
  • Sleep issues
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Metallic taste in the mouth

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