Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

'Water Pills' May Cut Heart Risks in Diabetes

Study: More Costly Drugs No Better Than Diuretics
WebMD Health News

June 27, 2005 -- Water pills may work as well as other commonly used high blood pressure pills to protect the hearts of people with type 2 diabetes.

The researchers say they found "no evidence" that newer, more costly high blood pressure medications were better at preventing heart disease deaths or heart attacks than water pills, also called diuretics.

The findings were complex and "must be interpreted with caution," they write in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

They say the type of diuretics they studied "should be strongly considered" as initial drug therapy for patients with high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.

About High Blood Pressure

Nearly one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure. But almost a third of them don't know it, says the American Heart Association (AHA). High blood pressure affects nearly 50 million people in the U.S. and approximately 1 billion worldwide, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can be very dangerous. It can raise the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or kidney failure, says the AHA.

The relationship between blood pressure and heart disease risk is a continuous and consistent one, says the NHLBI. The higher the blood pressure, the greater the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and kidney disease. People with diabetes and high blood pressure have approximately twice the risk of complications compared with people who have high blood pressure alone.

Medications can help curb high blood pressure and reduce the risk of complications from the disease. A healthy lifestyle -- including exercise and good nutrition -- can also make a difference.

High Blood Pressure and Diabetes

"Almost three out of every four persons with type 2 diabetes has [high blood pressure]," says Paul Whelton, MD, MSc, in a news release.

That puts those people at "substantial risk" for heart disease, he says.

Whelton worked on the diuretic study. He is Tulane University's senior vice president for health sciences.

Study's Structure

Whelton's study included more than 31,500 adults aged 55 and older.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner