Humans are prescribed furosemide to control blood pressure. Furosemide is classified as a loop diuretic. How does the medication reduce blood pressure?
The furosemide directs the kidneys to pump water and sodium in the urine. This increased excretion causes plasma volume to decrease which in turn will reduce the amount of movement or pushing of fluid against the arterial walls and hence reducing blood pressure.
Unfortunately, in this process potassium also goes out with the water and sodium. Hence, it is important to monitor potassium and often potassium supplements are given.
Low potassium can cause:
1) muscle weakness or cramping.
2) abnormal heartbeat.
Calcium should also be monitored as this also gets excreted and this could potentially lead to osteoporosis.
What about thoroughbreds?
A recent article in the New York Times discussed the controversy of giving Furosemide to thoroughbred race horses. Why would one do this?
There is a thought the Furosemide prevents excercise induced pulmonary hemorrhaging. This is a controverisal theory that appears to lack evidence based medicine.
The real reason to "dope" the horses with Furosemide appears to be the drug offers enhanced sports performance, and quicker race times.
It does this by flushing out approximately 25 pounds worth of water.
The article in the Times reviewed a recent study funded by the Breeder's Cup. The study revealed 71% of Furosemide treated horses bled significantly versus 37% of the untreated horses.
Not quite what they were expecting to find considering the claim was the medicine PREVENTED the bleeding.
Bottom line: Money rules the world, greed is pervasive, and everyone wants their horse to win.
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