Excess fluid in the body is a common problem for people with congestive heart failure. Diuretics are helpful medications. They remove excess fluid from your body so that your heart and kidneys won’t get overworked. Many people with heart failure have to take diuretics regularly. If your doctor has prescribed a diuretic for you, it is important to follow instructions carefully and take them exactly as you are instructed.

Some tips on taking diuretics

  • If you are supposed to take just one diuretic pill/day, take it with or immediately after your breakfast.

  • Weigh yourself at the same time every day and call your doctor if you gain 2 or more pounds in a day or 5 or more in a week.

  • Before and after changing wound dressings or bandages

Some people complain about diuretics because of the following reasons. These are common side effects and not a reason to worry.

  • Frequent visits to the bathroom. This usually lasts about 4 hours after you take each pill.

  • Tiredness, especially at first.

  • Thirst. You may find it helpful to suck on hard candy or chew gum.

  • Muscle cramps. Your doctor may give you potassium supplements for this.

  • Dizziness, mild headache. Try to avoid getting up quickly.

Other side effects are more serious. Do call your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Blurred vision, confusion, sweating

  • Extreme thirst

  • Dehydration

  • Fever

  • Sore throat

  • Cough

  • Ringing in the ears

  • Unusual bleeding or bruising

  • Extreme weight loss

  • Nausea, vomiting, severe muscle cramps